Bulls’ Luol Deng still ailing, not looking good for Game 3
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org May 9, 2013 3:36PM
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Updated: May 10, 2013 12:08PM
The Bulls might want to start getting used to that Jimmy Butler-LeBron James matchup because by the looks of Luol Deng on Thursday, he won’t be returning soon.
The Deng saga in the last week has been a strange one, and after the team’s practice at the Berto Center, he explained just how strange it has been since he came down with flulike symptoms last week during the Nets series.
There was concern that Deng was suffering from viral meningitis, so he was sent for a spinal tap. That’s when it all went downhill.
“I think that’s another story,’’ Deng said. “Just, I guess, a side effect from the spinal tap. It all started because I wasn’t feeling well. I guess I had the flu. But my symptoms were really bad when I went to the hospital. They wanted to make sure I didn’t have meningitis. I’m thankful that they wanted to make sure.
“I did the spinal tap, and after that, I just didn’t respond well. I started having severe headaches, was struggling to walk. I started feeling really weak. I started throwing up, constant diarrhea. I couldn’t control my body, really. Because of that, I lost [15 pounds]. And I’m still just trying to get back, just trying to get right. I still don’t feel right.’’
While the rest of his teammates were in Miami on Wednesday, Deng went to the Berto Center and could only walk around. He couldn’t run or shoot. On Thursday, he only was able to watch film and didn’t participate in the walk-through. He tried to shoot, but it didn’t go well or last very long.
“It was scary,’’ Deng said. “I’ve never been through anything like that in my whole life. It was scary for me, scary for everyone that was around me. I’ve never seen anything like that. I never knew of a spinal tap before that. I didn’t know the reaction or the side effects of it, so I was really scared.’’
Deng admitted to having to return to the hospital twice since the spinal tap. He was suffering headaches and feeling weak.
But coach Tom Thibodeau wouldn’t rule out “the glue of the team’’ for Game 3, let alone the series.
“Still day-to-day,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘He’s feeling a little bit better. We’ll see [Friday].’’
Whether that’s just a long-shot hope or gamesmanship by Thibodeau, Butler likely will be stuck with the NBA’s toughest assignment.
“This league, you try to find out what you can do,’’ Deng said. “Jimmy is starting to figure out how good of a defender he can be.’’
James made his first six shots and had Butler in foul trouble early in the second quarter of Game 2, so Butler must continue figuring it out.
Kirk Hinrich (bruised left calf) had a second MRI on Thursday afternoon, and it showed no structural damage, but that doesn’t mean Hinrich will be ready any time soon.
And don’t even get Thibodeau started on Derrick Rose. Asked if there was any way Rose could make a surprise appearance in uniform for Game 3, Thibodeau had a one-word reply on his status: ‘‘Same.’’