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Rose could be back in the lineup for Bulls tonight

Derrick Rose participated in the Monday morning shootaround.

Baby steps? Yes. But as far as Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was concerned, a step that could see Rose back in the starting lineup when his team plays host to Detroit tonight at the United Center.

Then again, never take a Rose shootaround appearance for granted.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, I think he’ll be fine,’’ Thibodeau said, when asked about Rose playing. “When he’s healthy, he’s got to play. It’s really that simple. He’s dealing with sprained ankles. The rest of his body is good. When he’s ready to go, he goes. That would be the same for anybody. Sprained ankles are part of it. Just work your way through it.’’

The plan was for Rose to go through warmups, and then make a final decision.

That in itself could have drama surrounding it. Last week, not only did Rose participate fully in a Monday practice, but went through the morning shootaround the night they were playing Orlando. When it came time to answer the bell, however, he backed out, not feeling good after the warm-up.

He’s played in just three games this season, and just one in the last five since spraining both ankles.

“Well, I mean we know from being here the last … being around it, things are going to happen, guys are going to be in and out,’’ veteran guard Kirk Hinrich said, when asked if the constant Rose speculation was tiresome. “Obviously, he’s a major story and a major piece, but whatever happens we’ve got to be ready and that’s what we’re trying to do.’’

No one know that more than Hinrich, since he has been the most effected by Rose’s injury problems this season. And while Hinrich said in an ideal world it would be great to know if he’s starting from game to game or coming off the bench, ideal is a pipedream.

“Yeah, I mean I think ideally you’d like to know, but it’s not always ideal,’’ Hinrich said. “I just try to be ready for everything and whatever is needed of me that night, try and go out and do it. Just not change my preparation in how I get ready. Just make it the same, get a routine, and hopefully that will have me prepared.’’