Bulls G Derrick Rose misses 3rd straight game

ANDREW SELIGMAN AP Sports Writer Published:

CHICAGO (AP) -- Bulls star Derrick Rose said his aching back is improving, and he doesn't expect any lingering problems.

Even so, he missed his third straight game because of lower back spasms when the Chicago Bulls hosted the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night and remains day to day.

"I shouldn't have any problems in the long run," Rose said. "This back pain should be behind me in a couple of days. I should be back out there in a couple days. I'm going to take my time and be smart."

Rose didn't have a target date for his return. Boston visits Thursday, and he wasn't sure if he'd be ready to play against Rajon Rondo and the Celtics. C.J. Watson has been starting in his place.

"It's not just (Rose's) decision," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "There are a lot of people weighing in on it. We have a great medical staff, a great training staff. Their input is critical. His input is critical. We're certainly not going to do anything to jeopardize him being hurt."

If nothing else, Rose was relieved after a back specialist confirmed Monday that there was no structural damage. He also saw a chiropractor to help the recovery.

Rose said taking a pain-killing injection was discussed, but with his fear of needles, he wasn't about to take one.

"(My back's) getting better," Rose said. "I shot earlier, didn't move that much. Hopefully, (Wednesday) I'll be running."

Rose is averaging 22.0 points and 7.8 assists, but this was the eighth game this season that he has missed because of problems with his back and left big toe. He said the toe is pain-free, but the back still is an issue.

With Rose sidelined, the Bulls signed guard Mike James to a 10-day contract. He appeared in three games for Chicago before being waived on Jan. 28.

Veteran guard Richard Hamilton, who remains sidelined by a right thigh injury, rejoined the team after tending to a family issue. He posted on Twitter that his grandmother died.