By K.C. Johnson, Tribune reporter
Luol Deng and Derrick Rose will miss at least Game 1 of the Chicago Bulls’ Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Heat and Kirk Hinrich is doubtful, according to coach Tom Thibodeau.
Deng, who has been in and out of the hospital after experiencing complications from a spinal tap administered to check for viral meningitis, remains in Chicago. And Thibodeau said it’s uncertain when — and if — Deng will fly here at all.
“We’re taking it day-by-day,” Thibodeau said.
That puts Deng’s availability for Wednesday’s Game 2 in serious jeopardy as well. And even though Rose still won’t say publicly that he’s out for the season, that’s the assumption under which the organization long has operated.
“It’s no pressure at all,” Rose said. “I haven’t had any pressure from anyone. Not in the organization, not from my teammates. They know I’m putting everything I have on trying to come back as fast as possible. Just trying to be smart with the whole situation. Just taking my time.”
Hinrich didn’t take the floor for the start of the Bulls’ morning shootaround, receiving treatment on his severely bruised left calf in the training room. He tested the injury before Saturday’s Game 7 victory over the Nets and didn’t move well at all.
“It’s slow, steady progress,” Thibodeau said. “But he’s still not there.”
Deng is out of the hospital. Without him, the Bulls likely will put Jimmy Butler on LeBron James. That means Marco Belinelli likely wo;; guard Dwyane Wade.
“Lu is a very important part of the team, sort of the glue of our team,” Thibodeau said. “That being said, he has missed games during the series. He missed games in the last series. We have more than enough to get it done. That’s what we have to do.
“He had a spinal tap. So he’s been sick, still not feeling as well as he would like. He’s gone back to the hospital to get tested more, more treatment. I spoke to him this morning and he’s feeling a little better.”
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