Joakim Noah plays vs. Nets

NEWARK, N.J. -- Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah played Thursday night against the New Jersey Nets despite suffering from flu-like symptoms, but power forward Carlos Boozer remained out with a sprained left ankle.

Noah missed Tuesday night's game against the Washington Wizards because of the flu, but he was back in the starting lineup and played 31 minutes in Chicago's 84-73 win over the Nets, scoring five points on 2-of-6 shooting, grabbing 10 rebounds and handing out six assists.

Boozer, who missed his fourth straight game, says he is improving, but is still hesitant to put a date on his return. Veteran Kurt Thomas started in Boozer's place.

"We'll see," Boozer said before the game. "We'll see how it feels tomorrow. It's tough, but at the same time I know it's getting better, so I'm just waiting for it to heal up so I can get back out there."

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau does not want to rush him back unless he is completely healthy.

"If it's ready I'd play tonight, but it's not ready," Boozer said before the game. "Still a lot of pain, [the ankle] is still bugging me a little bit, but it's gotten a lot better day by day, so every day I'm hoping it will get a little bit better."

Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.