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Bulls controlling message of Derrick Rose’s comeback

Luol Deng battles JasKidd for loose ball. Deng led Bulls with 29 points 13 rebounds. | Mary Altaffer~AP

Luol Deng battles Jason Kidd for a loose ball. Deng led the Bulls with 29 points and 13 rebounds. | Mary Altaffer~AP

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at Hawks

The facts: 6, Ch. 9, 1000-AM.

Updated: January 23, 2013 6:13AM

NEW YORK — There aren’t many who coach defense better than the Bulls’ Tom Thibodeau.

There also aren’t many who are better at semantics.

Thibodeau won’t detail what Derrick Rose has been doing in practice the last week, and he seems tentative to even use the word “practice.’’ But if that’s the case, what has Marquis Teague been taking notes on?

The rookie point guard said Friday that Rose’s presence at the Berto Center has allowed him to play student to Rose’s master.

“We’ve just been going over plays a lot, but I definitely watch the way he comes off picks and little things like that,’’ Teague said. “The way he shoots his floaters. I’m just trying to watch all the little things and see how he does it.’’

Rose hasn’t practiced with contact, but he’s making progress in his rehab from surgery May 12 to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

“You don’t go from A to Z,” Thibodeau said. “You have to go through each step. When he handles one step, we’ll move on to the next one. But you have to be patient with this. This is the type of injury that takes time. There’s no contact, so that’s where he is right now. We’ll let you know when there’s contact.’’

The Bulls want to control the message regarding Rose’s rehab, and Thibodeau wasn’t afraid to admit that Friday.

“We laid out the plan at the beginning of the season,’’ he said. “How we were going to handle everything. Our team is focused on their improvement and their opponent, and Derrick is focused on his rehab. At some point he will rejoin us, and then we’ll be complete.’’

Asked if he feels good about how his players have handled all the questions about Rose, Thibodeau was his usual self.

“Well, you guys ask the same questions,” he said, “so I think they’ve got a handle on it.’’

Brotherly love

The Teague brothers — Marquis with the Bulls and Jeff with the Atlanta Hawks — will face each other for the first time as NBA players tonight.

“It’s been years, probably since he was in college,’’ the younger Marquis said. Jeff played at Wake Forest, and Marquis went to Kentucky.

Injury front

Taj Gibson played Friday against the Knicks despite an injured right ankle, but he wasn’t himself. He played two minutes in the first half.

◆ Thibodeau said Richard Hamilton is running despite the torn plantar fascia in his left foot, but there is no timetable for him to resume practicing.

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