Joakim Noah back in lineup

DENVER -- Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah returned Thursday against the Denver Nuggets after missing the past three games because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

A first-time All-Star, Noah went through all of the Bulls' practice on Wednesday.

"I felt pretty good," he said before Thursday morning's shootaround. "I'll be all right."

Forward Marco Belinelli, who has been receiving treatment for a sprained right ankle, did not play.

As for Derrick Rose, Thibodeau said the Bulls did not run any 5-on-5 during Wednesday's practice. Thibodeau noted Wednesday that Rose has been taking most of his contact before and after practices.

The Bulls face a Denver team that has been almost unbeatable at home (21-3). Noah believes the key to slowing down the Nuggets is to try to control the pace as much as possible.

"It's just going to be trying to slow them down in transition," Noah said. "They got a point guard [Ty Lawson] that can really push it and they play high-tempo. That's a style that bothers us in the past, and we feel like once we get our defense set we're a whole different team, so we got to slow them down in transition."