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Bulls rookie Chandler Hutchison knows time is running out for return this season

Forward Chandler Hutchison’s right toe continued to improve this week.

But the 6-7 Hutchison’s season likely will end with him on the bench, sitting next to fellow rookie Wendell Carter Jr. (left thumb).

“Hutchison had a follow-up scan on his foot earlier this week that showed good bone healing,’’ trainer Jeff Tanaka said Friday. “He will get another scan in two weeks, and we’ll know more based on those results. We may run out of the season, but we’ll take that step by step.’’

It would be a disappointing ending for Hutchison, but it’s one he already seems to have come to grips with.

“Since it happened, that’s kind of what I was doing, looking to see when the possible return would be,’’ Hutchison said. “It’s not just something you can speed up or wish that it goes away. You have to respect your body and what it’s telling you, so that’s kind of what I’ve been doing, and if I get back, I get back. If not, start taking the steps to prepare me for the offseason and next year.’’

In 44 games, including 14 starts, Hutchison averaged 5.2 points and 4.2 rebounds before injuring the toe in a 106-101 loss to the Clippers, one of his better games of the season.

The hope was that he would miss a month or so, return to his starting job and continue developing.

Obviously, those plans were derailed, not only with the injury, but because the Bulls acquired veteran small forward Otto Porter Jr., who stabilized the starting unit.

Even if Hutchison can return later in March, he would be coming back to a bench role, which will be the case as long as Porter is around.

“I never get caught up in that because I don’t make the decisions,’’ Hutchison said. “I can only do what I can do, and that’s going to be to continue competing for a spot. I’m never going to be, like, ‘Oh, I deserve this or deserve that.’ That’s not who I am. I’m just going to keep working and let the chips fall where they may.

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“It’s exciting for me to have a guy like Otto in my position to learn from. He’s a pro’s pro. That’s what I’ve experienced in his time here. I think that will help me even more than just being thrown in the fire, being a starter right away. I got a lot of experience from that, but at the same time, I still have a lot to learn.

‘‘Otto has already been super-helpful for me, and that’s only going to help me down the road.’’

College try

Coach Jim Boylen is still knee-deep in NBA mode, so the idea of him taking time out to watch college games just doesn’t work.

Boylen admittedly has watched his beloved Michigan State from time to time, but he hasn’t checked out possible draft prospects yet.

“I have not watched much college basketball,’’ Boylen said. “I watched the Michigan-Michigan State game a few weeks ago because it just happened to be on a day I was at home, but I haven’t watched enough.

‘‘I don’t know it as well as maybe I should, but I’ve got a lot of friends in college basketball, so I correspond with them a lot.’’