Derrick Rose (back) out vs. Nets

CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose missed Saturday afternoon's 97-85 loss against the New Jersey Nets because of back spasms.

This was the fifth consecutive game Rose has missed. C.J. Watson started in his place. The Bulls are now 7-3 this season while playing without Rose.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has been questioned repeatedly about resting Rose, especially with the All-Star break coming up next weekend and the fact that the Bulls have only one more game against a team with a winning record before the break (Monday against the Atlanta Hawks).

But the veteran coach has held firm that Rose will play only whenever he is ready to go.

"If a guy can play, he'll play," Thibodeau said after Friday's practice. "We don't want anyone playing who is injured or who could do further damage. But that decision shouldn't be based on what may be perceived [about] an opponent's record.

"Because often times, when you look at a team, their record may not be an indication of how good they are. They may have had injuries themselves. And they might be playing well. I don't think that decision should be based on record."

Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.