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Depleted Luol Deng says he’s still not close to returning

Bulls forward Luol Deng brings ball up court first quarter Chicago Bulls 79-76 wover Brooklyn Nets game three first round

Bulls forward Luol Deng brings the ball up the court in the first quarter of the Chicago Bulls 79-76 win over the Brooklyn Nets in game three of the first round playoff series April 25, 2013 at the United Center. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: May 12, 2013 11:10PM



Bulls forward Luol Deng is trying, but the aftereffects of a spinal tap to test for meningitis continue to dog him.

‘‘I’m just trying to get back in the rhythm of things,’’ Deng said Sunday. ‘‘I tried to practice Satur-
day, and I couldn’t. I started throwing up. I tried to practice with the team today, the same thing. My body is not reacting well to anything I’m doing right now.’’

Deng said ‘‘it’s easier not eating solid food,’’ so he has regained only a couple of the 15 pounds he lost during an apparent bout with the flu and the spinal tap. He hasn’t played since Game 5 of the first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets.

Deng had hoped to be able to play a little by now, but he isn’t close, he said.

‘‘If I could give five or 10 minutes, [that would] give these guys a little bit of a break,’’ Deng said. ‘‘But I can’t even get through a regular warmup.’’

Considering he had the spinal
tap nearly two weeks ago, his
adverse reaction has been dragging on surprisingly long. That raises the question of whether the procedure was handled properly.

‘‘I’m not here to talk about that,’’ Deng said. ‘‘The mian thing is for me to try to get better. That’s what we’re focusing on.’’

General manager Gar Forman also declined a request to explain why Deng has been hit so hard by the spinal tap — or if something else is involved.

‘‘I’ve been reading up on spinal taps,’’ said Deng, who also wonders if this is related to his appa-
rent bout with the flu. ‘‘I guess
everybody’s body is different. There are some people who go through it, and it’s worse. The symptoms afterward are different with everybody. I definitely had something before, the flu or whatever it was. Just because you had a spinal tap doesn’t mean that [other illness] goes away. Maybe I had that. It just sucks. It’s not like an injury, where you can play through it. Just doing regular stuff is hard.’’

Deng’s illness and the absence of guard Kirk Hinrich, who has been out since Game 4 of the
series against the Nets with a bruised left calf that also has lingered, have left the Bulls without two veteran starters. And that’s on top of the Derrick Rose saga.

‘‘We miss Lu and Kirk a lot,’’ center Joakim Noah said. ‘‘We hope they come back healthy as soon as possible. Everybody knows what those guys bring to the table, but it is what it is. You can’t feel sorry for yourselves. You can only control what you can control. That’s bring maximum energy and do what you have to do to help win the game.’’



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