Luol Deng has been dealing with complications from a spinal tap he underwent late in the Bulls first round series against the Nets. Now that we’re approaching Game 4 of his team’s series against the Heat, things don’t seem to be improving quickly enough that a return to the court would seem likely anytime soon.
Deng went through a physical ordeal, and while he’s trying to do what he can to get himself back into basketball shape, his body is simply not yet responding.
From the Chicago Tribune (via HoopsHype):
Moments after the Bulls coach called Luol Deng “day to day” and left Deng’s Game 4 availability open because “hopefully, with another 24 hours he’s better,” Deng painted a graver picture. “I did some individual work (Saturday) and I started throwing up a little bit. I couldn’t finish the workout,” Deng said. “I tried to practice (Sunday) and the same thing. I just warmed up and couldn’t get through practice. My body, my system is not reacting well to anything I’m doing right now.”
Indeed, Deng continues to sound doubtful for the remainder of the series, even though he admitted he talked to Thibodeau about giving “five or 10 minutes or whatever to give these guys a little break.” Deng’s illness and subsequent serious complications from a spinal tap that necessitated a blood patch to heal have created a long recovery road. “It’s not as bad as it was before,” Deng said. “But I can’t even get through a regular warm-up.”
Deng isn’t a high-energy interior force that could give his team an emotional lift in short bursts like we’ve seen from David Lee of the Warriors a few times in this postseason.
Instead, Deng is an All-Star contributor who the Bulls rely on for heavy minutes, and who tends to impact the game more subtly after feeling out its rhythm before knowing when to attack.
It’s looking more and more as if the Bulls will have to continue the fight against the Heat without Deng for the rest of the series — one which isn’t likely to last beyond Game 5 considering the talent disparity between the two rosters.