That chatter began with a setback suffered by the All-Star third baseman during his first rehab assignment at the beginning of August, and picked up again when Crede left early from Tuesday's game in Cleveland.
So, the White Sox manager made another definitive statement Friday concerning what he expects from Crede in the season's final three weeks. The answer was spelled out as "not much."
"I'm not going to count [on] Crede for a long time," said Guillen of his starting third baseman, who left Friday to get a second opinion concerning his balky back. "I don't expect him to be back anytime soon.
"Joe is not going to be with us and I don't expect him to be back in the season. I don't know if it's going to be true or not. That's my plan."
With Crede out of action, Juan Uribe will continue to get the bulk of playing time at third base because of the outstanding defense he has exhibited. Uribe also had 20 hits in his last 67 at-bats entering Friday.
Josh Fields also becomes an option, although neither player really can replace Crede when he's on his game. During the 2005 postseason, Crede arguably was the team's most valuable position player from start to finish.
Crede said all exams showed his back to be structurally sound and no surgery was needed before his return in Baltimore on Aug. 25. But Guillen said it was clear Crede was playing in pain over the past 10 days, while hitting .174 since coming back from the disabled list. It's a valiant effort Guillen appreciated.
"This kid, I tip my hat to Joe Crede," Guillen said. "He was playing with a lot of pain and we can see him playing with pain. We can see the way he was moving. He couldn't take anymore. He did everything in his power to help this ballclub, and unfortunately that happened."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.