Noah still awaits first preseason game

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- While Derrick Rose’s absence from the Chicago Bulls’ most recent preseason game has caused an avalanche of concern, Joakim Noah still hasn’t played in a single warm-up contest.

Noah practiced Monday at the Berto Center, continuing his routine of working out with the Bulls, but his status for Wednesday’s preseason game against the Detroit Pistons remains uncertain.

Noah hasn’t played in any of the three games so far because of a groin injury.

“The good thing is he’s been able to practice,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “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.”

Just five preseason games remain before the Bulls kick off the regular season on Oct. 29 against the defending NBA champion Miami Heat.

Noah did not speak to reporters after Monday’s practice, but he went through the entire workout. Of chief concern for the team is to get Noah acclimated to having Rose run the team from the point-guard position. The last time the two played together in an NBA game was in April 2012.

“It’s going to be good,” Rose said Monday of the prospect of playing with Noah again. “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.”

If there’s any time to play it extremely cautious with injuries, it’s the preseason. And with Noah’s veteran status and the experience he has playing with Rose in previous seasons, the Bulls have no problem taking the conservative approach.

“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,” Rose said. “We’re lifting two times a week, drinking protein shakes, ice-cold tubs, getting massages. I think everyone’s become a professional, especially the younger guys. I’m not even young anymore. I’m a veteran, a young veteran now, so I have to take care of my body and have my diet right.”