Since Feb. 1, the Miami Heat are 41-2. They won 27 games in a row from Feb. 1 to March 27. LeBron James just submitted his finest statistical campaign and won his fourth MVP trophy near-unanimously.
So yeah, the Chicago Bulls are the underdogs going into their eastern conference semifinal series with the Heat. And they would be even if they had Derrick Rose back, which they almost certainly won’t. But with word breaking today that Luol Deng, who missed games six and seven of the Bulls’ last series, will miss at least game one against the Heat, Chicago’s uphill battle just got steeper.
CSN Chicago’s Aggrey Sam first reported that Deng returned to the emergency room at Rush University Hospital Sunday morning after he had been discharged Saturday afternoon. Deng had originally gone to the hospital after concerns of viral meningitis, which caused him to get a spinal tap. Unfortunately, something went wrong and Deng started losing spinal fluid, causing him to experience severe migraines and disorientation. That issue has apparently been fixed, but Deng’s return to the hospital suggests something else went wrong.
The hope is that Deng will be in Miami as of sometime Monday and would be ready to play in game two, but it’s very hard to say for sure. Until then, Marco Belinelli would start in his place, with Jimmy Butler getting the responsibility of checking LeBron. We can but hope that Dwyane Wade’s knee is bothering him enough that he can’t utterly destroy Belinelli, or else this series is gonna be over quickly.
Meanwhile, Kirk Hinrich continues to recover from the calf injury that forced him to miss games five, six and seven of last series. Nobody seems to know one way or the other when or if he’ll be back, and one assumes Nate Robinson will continue starting in his place.
Game one will start at 6 p.m. CST on Monday in Miami. TNT will have the broadcast.