Derrick Rose may keep neck tape

PHILADELPHIA -- Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose has been dealing with neck soreness over the past week but says he is feeling fine heading into Saturday night's game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

The former MVP even joked that he may continue wearing the tape on the back of his neck all season if he has a big game because it helps him stay loose. Rose, who knocked in the go-ahead shot in the final seconds on Thursday night against the New York Knicks, wore the tape on both sides of his neck.

"As long as the league allows me to," he said with a smile after Saturday's shootaround, when asked how long he would keep wearing it. "If I have a breakthrough game I might wear it the whole year."

Rose, who had to sit out a game three years ago because of a neck issue, believes the tape is helping him.

"Keeping my neck stable," he said. "When you have a crick in your neck it's kind of hard to turn side to side so it's kind of keeping my neck in line and making sure my vertebraes are safe."

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has no problem with his star's new look.

"He thinks it helps him," Thibodeau said. "So we're good with it."

Both Thibodeau and Rose are hopeful that the star can break out of his recent shooting slump against the Sixers. After dominating throughout the preseason, Rose is 11-for-38 from the field over his last two games.

"He'll work his way through it," Thibodeau said. "He'll be fine. I thought he shot the ball really well in the preseason. He's got to mix of some layups and in between [shots] and the open 3. I thought he found some rhythm to start the third [against New York] with the 3 and that sort of got him going. But I like the way ... he did a lot of other things to help us in that game. He didn't hang his head, I thought his defense was terrific, and then he had the courage to take and make late."

Rose, 25, said recently he has to get his body used to playing in games again after missing the last year and a half because of reconstructive knee surgery. He is confident he will regain his form soon.

"For me I think it's just really what I'm going through now," he said. "Taking all the bumps, missing shots -- of course that's going to be part of the game. But it's just going to take me playing, playing as hard as I can, working out every day like I'm supposed to. Just putting my all into my craft and my teammates allowing me to still play the way I'm playing even though I'm missing these shots. So what happens when I do start making them? If anything, I should be fine."

As for the neck tape, it appears as if it will become part of his game-day routine for the foreseeable future.

"I'm telling you, if I have a breakthrough game I'm real [superstitious]," he said. "If I break through it might be it."