Joakim Noah has yet to don his No. 13 jersey in the preseason as he continues to deal with a groin injury, but Tom Thibodeau and Derrick Rose hope to have him back on the court soon.
The center is currently battling a groin issue that has kept him out of Chicago’s first two exhibitions even though he has been participating in practice. The Bulls have five more preseason games to play before opening the regular season in Miami and Tom Thibodeau wants his starting unit to become acclimated to playing together sooner rather than later.
"The good thing is he’s been able to practice," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said to ESPN Chicago on Monday. "It’s not like he’s way behind. But it’s still important for him to get some preseason games under his belt so he gets used to playing with the starting unit and the starting unit gets used to playing with him. It’ll be good to have him out there."
Thibodeau has long been accused of mismanaging his player’s minutes and the speculation has been that overuse is the chief cause of the injuries that several players on the team have suffered on his watch. The coach has always bristled when asked if his players were on the court too much, but he seems to have adopted a new stance going into this season, one that emphasizes giving his players rest when they need it.
As for not playing with Noah yet, Derrick Rose isn’t too concerned. The two have shared the court for a number of years and the point guard thinks it’ll be a smooth transition once he’s back on the court.
But for now, health is the primary concern for every member of the Bulls this season.
"It’s going to be good," Rose said. "Joakim hasn’t been playing, but in practice he’s been in every practice. He hasn’t sat out yet, really going hard, getting his conditioning up. He looks healthy out there. You think about all the team that go strong in the playoffs, they’re healthy teams, and Joakim, he’s just taking care of his body. I think everyone is."