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Updated: March 18, 2013 9:41PM



It only took a few hours for “Unlikely’’ to be downgraded into “Out’’ when it came to the playing status of Derrick Rose on Monday, and just like that, there went another erroneous social-media rumor that had been floating around since Saturday.

Cue the “Taps.”

“Out, out, out, [Richard] Hamilton out,’’ Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau insisted before the game with Denver, as he declared Hamilton, Taj Gibson (sprained left MCL), Kirk Hinrich (stress reaction right foot) and of course Rose (surgically-repaired anterior cruciate ligament) as players that would be in street clothes yet again.

Rose did take part in the Monday morning shootaround, as well as going through his usual pre-game routine, but his 2012-13 season debut was still on hold with no timetable yet to report.

According to a source, it’s still all about Rose needing to feel that explosiveness in his game. When he declared last month that he needed to be “110 percent’’ he wasn’t kidding. He doesn’t want to change the way he plays because of an injury, and when attacking the basket like he does is a standard he feels he has to meet, anything less won’t do.

Until it does, Thibodeau knows the daily drill: The media has to ask, and he has to answer when it comes to his superstar.

“No, we knew it was going to be like that,’’ Thibodeau said, when asked if the Rose questions were getting old. “[The media has] a job to do, I have a job to do, [Rose] has a job to do. That’s all part of it. We just deal with it and move on.’’

The more surprising news was that Gibson was not able to go. It was the 10th game the power forward/center missed, but he seemed close with a solid practice on Sunday and then a strong showing in the shootaround.

“He’s getting a lot closer,’’ Thibodeau said of Gibson. “I just think another couple days will be good.’’

The same can be said of Hinrich, who remained on the sideline for practices and shootarounds, but was at least shooting afterwards to stay in shape.

Hamilton’s back injury is more enigma than detailed by the club at this point, with “back’’ as the diagnosis. Hamilton has refused to discuss what’s going on with the media, so hence the confusion surrounding his absence.

Still, Thibodeau remained adamant that the players in uniform were still enough to earn “Ws.’’

“If we do the right things we’ll be in position to win,’’ the coach added. “That’s the challenge for us.’’



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