Carlos Boozer returns to Bulls practice

Updated: May 2, 2011, 11:08 AM ET
By Nick Friedell |

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Carlos Boozer returned to practice on a limited basis for the Chicago Bulls on Sunday afternoon while Derrick Rose was excused for personal reasons.

Boozer is expected to play in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night.

"He'll be ready to go," Bulls center Joakim Noah said of Boozer, who declined to speak with reporters after practice.

Boozer injured his right big toe on Tuesday night when the Bulls closed out the Pacers in Game 5. After the team took two days off, Boozer missed practice on Friday and Saturday. His teammates know the turf toe injury continues to bother him, but they think he will be all right.

"We still have to put him out there live," Bulls forward Luol Deng said. "He's been able to do more, so hopefully [Monday] morning at shootaround we'll be able to tell exactly where he is."

Deng said Boozer did not participate in any live drills up and down the floor.

"Basically he just did a little bit more shooting," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "He's moving a lot better. He did his lifting and he was on the bike. He's feeling a lot better. We'll see what he can do [Monday]. Each day he's gotten better and better, so we're encouraged by that. We'll see if he can get through the shootaround [Monday], then we'll let him warm up [Monday] night and see if he's ready to go."

Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for and ESPN 1000.

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined for its launch in April 2009.