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Injured Derrick Rose shoots around before Bulls top Bucks 100-94

Injured Bulls guard Derrick Rose worksout for brief time before Chicago Bulls take Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday October 16 2012 United

Injured Bulls guard Derrick Rose worksout for a brief time before the Chicago Bulls take on the Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday October 16, 2012 at the United Center. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: November 18, 2012 7:19AM



Even Derrick Rose shootarounds are events.

The injured point guard went through his normal daily shooting program Tuesday, about 90 minutes before the start of the Bulls’ 100-94 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks in their fourth game of the preseason, capturing the attention of cameras and the media.

Rose, who is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, has been shooting jump shots since early September, but he usually tries to do it away from the spotlight. This was his first shootaround at the United Center, however, since injuring his knee in the first round of the playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Just don’t ask coach Tom Thibodeau or his players about Rose these days.

“[Derrick’s] doing his job, and we have to focus on the guys that are here that have to perform right now, study our opponent, study our team,’’ Thibodeau said recently. ‘‘But he’s doing well right now. He’s fine.’’

Thibodeau also made it known that he is not going to give daily or weekly updates on Rose’s rehabilitation or a timetable for a return.

If anything, he wants his players to believe that they can succeed without Rose in the lineup.

Not an easy sell.

“You play with Derrick Rose? It makes your job easy,’’ Richard Hamilton said.

Kirk Hinrich, who was signed as a free agent this offseason to hold down the fort until Rose returns, has helped alleviate some of Thibodeau’s concerns early on. But Hinrich was a late scratch Tuesday, sidelined with an injury to his right thumb.

That meant it was on to Plan C, with high-energy guard Nate Robinson getting the starting nod.

Robinson has a reputation of being more of a scoring point guard, but with 13 assists to go along with 24 points against the Bucks, he showed that he’s capable of doing what Thibodeau needs of him.

“[Tuesday night], he made another step,’’ Thibodeau said of Robinson’s performance.

Robinson simplified it even more.

“I didn’t force anything,’’ he said of his impressive night. “I just let everything happen. It seemed like guys were just wide-open for some reason. I was just making the right play.’’

Even when Rose is able to return, the hope is that Hinrich and Robinson are playing at a high enough level that Rose can ease back into the flow of the game, rather than shoulder the load.

Until then, it’s back to the daily grind of rehab for Rose. Whether the cameras are on him or not.



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