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After a change of heart, NBA will allow Derrick Rose to wear protective neck tape

Derrick RoseDerrick Rose said the NBA originally told him he could no longer wear his protective neck tape. (David E. Klutho/SI)

In a move that reeks of common sense, the NBA has changed its mind and decided to allow Derrick Rose and other players to wear protective neck tape "on an experimental basis."

League spokesman Tim Frank announced the reversal in a statement after Rose revealed earlier in the day that the NBA had asked him to stop wearing the medical tape during games.

Earlier Wednesday, K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune reported that the NBA had asked Rose to stop wearing the tape, which he donned in his last two games to deal with a sore neck.

In addition to coming back from a knee injury that sidelined him for the entire 2012-13 season, Rose is up against another ailment as he makes his comeback. The Bulls' star first wore the tape in an 82-81 win over the Knicks on Oct. 31. Rose sank a baseline floater with 5.1 seconds left to seal the win and joked the next day that the protective tape was there to stay.

"As long as the league allows me to," he said, according to ESPN.com. "If I have a breakthrough game, I might wear it the whole year."

But Rose also said the tape served a very specific purpose, one that seemed to make the NBA's original stance perplexing.

"Keeping my neck stable," he told ESPN. "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."

Despite the injury, Rose hasn't missed any time, although he's been noticeably off during games. It's not clear whether Rose's issues stem from rust, his knee or his neck (or all three), but the results nonetheless have been disappointing. Through three games, Rose is averaging just 14.3 points and more turnovers (5.7 per game) than assists (4.3). He's also shooting just 28.8 percent from the field and has yet to register a steal.

Rose and the Bulls visit the Pacers on Wednesday.

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