The Bulls flew point guard John Lucas III to Denver and signed him in time for the 9 p.m. ET game against the Nuggets.
Released by Chicago in final cuts before opening night in late October, Lucas boarded a Denver-bound flight in Houston on Friday afternoon to go meet the Bulls.
"I didn't know if I was going to go overseas, or come back [to play this season]," Lucas said before Friday's game. "I didn't know what the situation was for me. I was just getting ready because if I was going overseas, I was going to go to China, [and] their season doesn't start 'til later in December. I was just down [in Houston] working out with my dad and a couple other players who were still waiting to go overseas over trying to get into the D-League."
The Bulls lost to the Nuggets 98-97 on Carmelo Anthony's buzzer-beater. Lucas saw four minutes of action and scored two points.
Rose revealed to reporters Friday morning that neck spasms have been bothering him since before Wednesday's visit to Phoenix, where the All-Star guard amassed 35 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists before fouling out to lead Chicago to a double-overtime victory after the Bulls had fallen behind by 23 points.
Rose has missed only four games in his first two seasons but skipped the game against the Nuggets, leaving the Bulls -- also still without prized free-agent signing Carlos Boozer -- severely shorthanded as they try to post a rare winning record on their annual Circus Trip.
After losing to the Nuggets, the Bulls are 3-3 on the trip they undertake every November for two weeks when the circus comes to the United Center. Chicago plays at Sacramento on Saturday night to complete the seven-game excursion.
Since waiving Lucas and Kyle Weaver just before the season started, Chicago considered signing other point guards -- such as Patrick Beverley and veteran Anthony Johnson -- before deciding to keep only 13 (two shy of the league limit) to maintain maximum roster flexibility for potential trades.
Marc Stein covers the NBA for ESPN.com. Nick Friedell contributed to this report.