Rose's absence was unexpected, given that neither Rose nor Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg mentioned the injury before the game.
"He's had a little bit of soreness in his hamstring, and when he got to the arena, actually on the way to the arena, I got a call from [Bulls trainer] Jeff Tanaka, and it really stiffened up over the course of the day," Hoiberg said after the game. "And then when he got to the arena the plan was to loosen him up and see how he did with some treatment.
"Did some contrast -- hot tub, cold tub -- and just wasn't able to get [the hamstring] loosened up. So we took a cautious approach and decided to sit him."
Hoiberg said he wasn't sure if the hamstring injury was serious.
"I don't know yet," Hoiberg said. "We'll see how he's doing in the morning. Hopefully he feels a little better. We're going to give our guys a day to recover after having a lot in a row here. Then he'll obviously get a couple treats and then we'll meet again on Friday morning."
Rose earlier spoke of how he felt like his game was coming together after missing most of training camp with a fractured orbital bone.
"I love the mask," Rose said after Wednesday's shootaround, discussing the differences between playing with a protective mask and without it. "But I just felt like with the mask, I got too much faith to be hiding behind something. So I just took it off, and if I was to get hit again, of course I wouldn't want to, but if I was to get hit again it's out of my hands.
"It's not in my control anymore, so I just took it off and put it in God's hands. But as far as playing with it off, I really can't tell a difference. The game's still been the same. It's just that I'm getting my legs under me a little bit more."
Rose is averaging 14.4 points, 5.1 assists and 3.3 rebounds this season.
Veteran Kirk Hinrich started in Rose's place against the Pacers, scoring three points in 13 minutes.