Derrick Rose misses 3rd straight

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose missed his third consecutive game Thursday night, a 103-88 loss to the Sacramento Kings, because of a strained left hamstring.

Rose now has missed seven games overall, after missing four games earlier in the season because of sprained ankles. Despite the mounting criticism regarding Rose's on-again, off-again health status, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau once again defended his star point guard after Thursday's loss.

"If a guy is injured, he should sit, and if a guy is hurting, he should play," Thibodeau said. "It's really that simple. Right now, Derrick's not ready to go. He's injured. That's where I stand on [the issue]. The guy's had two major injuries; if he needs time, we're going to give him time."

Veteran Pau Gasol missed his second consecutive game Thursday night because of a strained left calf. He is hopeful he will be able to return soon.

"I didn't feel a pop," Gasol said of the injury. "It just started bothering me. It started being sore. I was hoping I got hit but I couldn't recall getting hit. So then you had to figure it was a muscle strain, and strains usually take their time to heal and scar. So I'm just trying to let it heal."

Guard Kirk Hinrich left in the fourth quarter of Thursday's game after taking several hard shots to his chest, including taking a charge on Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins. X-rays on his chest after the game were negative. The Bulls are calling the injury a chest contusion.

The availability of Rose, Gasol and Hinrich for Friday's game against the Portland Trail Blazers is unknown at this point.