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Bulls play it safe, hold Derrick Rose out of practice

Updated: November 13, 2013 9:45PM

The Bulls had 18 months to get used to life without Derrick Rose.

It meant ending one playoff run in the first round against the eighth-seeded 76ers and another in the second round against the Heat.

Basically, playing without Rose for a long period of time is only good for getting an early start on summer vacation.

That’s why the front office is making sure this season closes with a healthy Rose. If that means being extra cautious in mid-November, so be it.

The Bulls practiced for the first time Wednesday since Rose tweaked his right hamstring late in the victory Monday against the Cavaliers, but Rose was held out to receive treatment. He’ll be re-evaluated Thursday before the team flies to Toronto for the game Friday.

“He’s doing a little better,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said after practice. “[Team doctors] felt it was minor. There wasn’t a need for an MRI. They said he was feeling better and moving better.’’

If the injury lingers, Rose likely won’t play against the Raptors. The Bulls return home to play the Pacers on Saturday.

In Rose’s stead, the Bulls would turn to Kirk Hinrich, who has been playing at a very high level. Against the Cavs, he was a plus-11 in the plus/minus category, to which Thibodeau pays a lot of attention.

Hinrich played with Rose in the pivotal fourth quarter, and Thibodeau figures to revisit the two-point-guard look when Rose returns.

“They play very well together,’’ Thibodeau said. “They play off each other extremely well. It allows Derrick to get off the ball some.

“It gives your opponent a different look. They’re used to Derrick off the dribble, and now he’s catch-and-shoot. Kirk can do both. So I think it’s a big plus.’’

If Hinrich starts Friday, he’ll do so with the confidence of his teammates.

“So much knowledge, so much patience, not shy of taking the big shot, and it’s great having him out there with the second unit because he just knows so much and he’s never panicking,’’ reserve forward Taj Gibson said. “He always gets guys in the right spots at the right times, always has his head up, always cheering guys up, and that’s what you need.”


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