ATLANTA --- His look told the story. When Rip Hamilton was asked whether he would play against the Hawks on Saturday night his expression communicated an emphatic no.
"It takes time, man," Hamilton said of his sore groin. "I probably should've have played [against Detroit] but you couldn't keep me off that floor."
Hamilton injured his groin in a Dec. 30 win over the Clippers and came back too soon to play against his former teammates in Detroit and re-aggravated it. At this point, it could be several days before Hamilton is ready to return, although coach Tom Thibodeau maintains he's day to day.
"The thing that's difficult right now is he's not practicing so you don't really know what he can do and what he can't do," Thibodeau said. "We just want to be smart."
Hamilton was in uniform on the bench against the Magic and Hawks even though he didn't play. NBA rules require players to wear either a uniform or a jacket on the bench. Because Hamilton didn't bring a jacket on the three-city trip, he has been wearing his uniform so as not to violate rules.
Ronnie Brewer made his second straight start for the Bulls. At Thibodeau's request, Brewer worked on extending his range beyond the 3-point line during the offseason and has made three of four 3-pointers this season. He's averaging 7.6 points and 1.8 rebounds in 20.5 minutes thus far this season.
"He's a better shooter than people give him credit for," Thibodeau said. "We see it every day. We see how hard he works at it. He's gained a lot of confidence. He has always been a very good mid-range shooter and now he has extended that out. He's put a lot of work into it. He's shooting it well right now."
C.J. Watson is no longer wearing a sling on his sprained left elbow, although he was wearing a sleeve to protect it before the game. The backup point guard injured his elbow in the home opener against Memphis. He said he hopes to return to the court next week.
ROSE NO MJ
Rose was asked if he feels as if he's playing in the shadow of Michael Jordan.
"I try not to think about it," he said. "If you get caught up in that that's when things go wrong. We're two different types of players. His resume speaks for itself. This is only my fourth year in the league. We can't compare each other. He won championship. I haven't even made it to the finals yet. There's no comparison at all. That's somebody I look up to as a player. He's the greatest player. That's the way I look at things."