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CHICAGO -- Bulls star Derrick Rose started Thursday night's game against the New York Knicks despite missing the morning shootaround with a sore neck, and he became a huge pain in the neck for the visiting Knicks.
In his first home game since returning from ACL surgery, Rose scored the game winner -- knocking down a baseline floater with 5.7 seconds remaining -- to give Chicago an 82-81 win.
Rose had been considered a game-time decision Thursday, but warmed up with black tape on either side of his neck. He was in his usual spot at point guard when the starting lineups were released.
"[The crick] is still there but with the tape that I had on and me just playing in the game it loosened up a little bit," Rose said after the game.
Rose was confident he would be able to loosen up and play in his second game back since missing all of last season.
"Hell yeah," Rose said when asked if he would face the Knicks. "For sure I know I'm going to play. But it's just that I've got to get loose."
Rose finished with 18 points on 7-of-23 shooting with six rebounds and three assists.
Rose isn't sure when the injury occurred but thinks it must have happened at some point in Tuesday night's season-opening 107-95 loss to the Miami Heat. The 2011 league MVP did say his surgically repaired knee is fine.
"I don't know what play did it or whatever, but my body's just got to get used to playing," said Rose, who finished with 12 points and four assists in his first game since April 2012.
Rose was confident he would make his long-awaited United Center return.
"I've been getting treatment the last couple of days, even this morning," Rose said. "It's just getting my blood going then getting into the arena and seeing how much attention there is for tonight."
He acknowledged that it's tough to deal with another injury as he makes his way back from the knee injury that has been given so much attention.
"For sure, it's definitely frustrating," he said. "But can't get mad about it, can't get sad about it. I know I'm doing all the things to get back on the court as quick as possible and working my butt off."
Rose dealt with a similar injury three years ago when he missed a game on Nov. 26, 2010, because of a sore neck.
"It's just like a crick in your neck," he said. "Every day it gets better, but I know when I get going and get to playing and warming up it should be gone."
Rose is confident he will be able to improve upon tonight's game and the 4-for-15 shooting night he endured in Miami.
"I think my shots were on," Rose said. "It's just that I missed shots. For me, I know that I've had worse shooting nights than that in my career, and I know I might have a game where my confidence is totally high and it's going to be scary."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.