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Rose practices, Toews out vs. Wild

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One of Chicago's marquee athletes has already been ruled out of a game tomorrow, and another might make his return that night. Might.

Whether that happens or not, it does appear that the Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews (concussion) and the Bulls' Derrick Rose (groin) are about to return from injuries that have kept them out for weeks. Toews is practicing but has been ruled out of Thursday's Blachawks game at Minnesota. Rose is a game-time decision for the Bulls at Boston.

The timing is excellent for both to get back in the lineup. The Hawks have actually weathered their Toews-less storm really well, going 13-5-3 since he last played on Feb. 19 (and remember, he was active for their entire 8-game losing streak). With just two regular-season games left before the playoffs begin next week, however, there's some urgency to get Toews back in there. A deep Stanley Cup playoffs run without him is extremely unlikely.

There is less urgency for the Bulls to get Rose back. They're 42-13, still 2.5 games ahead of Miami for the best record in the Eastern Conference, and they're one of three NBA teams that has already clinched a playoff spot. Moreover, the Bulls still have 11 regular-season games left. But they just lost back-to-back games for the first time in more than a year. Nothing that happens for the rest of this regular season is of too much consequence for the Bulls, but you'd hate to see them struggle and lose some steam with the playoffs just a few weeks away.

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