Derrick Rose sits again

Chicago 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 beat the Sacramento Kings 121-115 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 saw a back specialist on Monday who confirmed MRI results from last that he has a muscular issue and must continue to rest and get therapy. He also saw a chiropractor to help the recovery.

"Right now, every day, it's improving," Rose said. "I saw someone (Monday), stretched me out. Every day I'm getting better so I'm just trying to stay positive. Of course, it's killing me not to be out there with my teammates, but I should be back soon."

Rose said he was relieved it wasn't worse.

"I was worried about it at first, knowing that I didn't know where it came from. And they said something about my toe being the (reason) I'm having pain in my back," Rose said. "So (I'm) getting my toe right. My toe doesn't have any pain in it. And hopefully my back shouldn't have pain in it."

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."

The Bulls have home games coming up against the Boston Celtics on Thursday and the New Jersey Nets on Saturday.

To shore up the roster while Rose is out, the Bulls signed veteran Mike James from the D-League to a 10-day contract. The Bulls called James, 36, up from the Erie BayHawks in December when Rose suffered a toe injury.

"My team is doing very good," Rose said. "We're playing, man. Of course we lost our last game, but I'm not worried about that. It's behind us. We're trying to come out and play hard tonight and play aggressive. That's something we didn't do last game."

Thibodeau said that Rose doesn't remember a play that hurt his back.

"The first time he mentioned [the injury] was the Milwaukee game [Feb. 4]," the coach said. "I believe he had 16 points in the first quarter. He's a dynamic athlete. He's in the air a lot. He wasn't sure if it was from sleeping in all the different hotel beds."

Rose may want to get back on the court soon, but his vote is only one.

"It's not just his decision," Thibodeau said. "There's a lot of people that are weighing in on it. We have a great medical staff, great training staff. Their input is critical. His input is critical. We're certainly not going to do anything that could jeopardize him being hurt further. He's feeling better ... and we'll just go from there."

Said Rose: "(Management) just told me to take my time. If anything, they're worried about my health. That's with everybody. Just talked to Thibs, that's what he was worried about. But right now, we're just trying to stay positive. And we're not in a bad position. I think we have a winning record, so everything is all right."

Thibodeau said it's too early to say whether the Bulls would want Rose to sit out the All-Star Game on Feb. 26.

"We'll cross that bridge when we get there," he said. "We're worried about today and Sacramento. When you look at his situation, if it makes more sense for him not to play, then he won't play. But if he can play, then he'll play. That's down the road. We're not there yet."

Rose also said he's not thinking about the All-Star Game "at all right now."

For now, Rose has to get used to sitting on the bench. He hasn't said much about it, but teammates know it's bothering him.

"If you know Derrick, you know he's quiet. But when he's sitting out and things are not going our way, or a team makes a run, for instance, we just lost to Boston, that eats at him inside," Ronnie Brewer said. "He'll get here early and get extra treatment and stay late, get extra treatment. He's such a competitor, he wants to get on the court. He's doing all the necessary things that it takes to get back healthy. But again, he has to be smart about it. But he's still focused with helping C.J. (Watson), helping whatever he sees on the court. If he's on the bench or in practice."

That attitude is part of what makes Rose special and why Bulls teammates have such respect for him.

"Yeah, I felt like if we would have heard some bad news about it, I think he's so tough, sooner or later he was going to try and play through it regardless," Brewer said. "He's a tough guy, he's a leader. Whenever he's healthy enough to get back on the court, you'll definitely see him out there, doing the things that we're used to seeing him doing."

Information from ESPNChicago.com's Nick Friedell and The Associated Press was used in this report.