Luol Deng was the only member of the Bulls' trio of flu-ridden players to miss Chicago's Game 6 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday. There was apparently enough criticism from media and fans for Deng to take his feelings to Twitter, where, on Friday afternoon, he fired off six messages about the circumstances that caused him to miss the Bulls' 95-92 defeat.
Here's what Deng wrote on Twitter:
It really upsets me that everyone thinks I would miss a game bc of the flu. I've played a lot of games w the flu in my career.— Luol Deng (@LuolDeng9) May 3, 2013
On Wed I was taken to the ER and my symptoms indicated I may have meningitis In order to play on Thurs I was ... m.tmi.me/Uagd5— Luol Deng (@LuolDeng9) May 3, 2013
As a result of the spinal tap I suffered the worst headache I've ever experienced and been the weakest I've ever felt.— Luol Deng (@LuolDeng9) May 3, 2013
Yesterday I was unable to walk or even get out of bed. I made it to the UC and was sent home. This morning my symptoms worsened.— Luol Deng (@LuolDeng9) May 3, 2013
Now I'm back in the ER where I may have to spend the night... I want my teammates and Bulls fans to know I would NEVER miss a game bc of flu— Luol Deng (@LuolDeng9) May 3, 2013
If I'm medically cleared I will fly to NY to be with my team and try to win game 7— Luol Deng (@LuolDeng9) May 3, 2013
Charles Barkley called out Deng out for missing Thursday's contest on TNT's pre-game show, though that was before the extent of Deng's illness was learned. The Bulls were also apparently hesitant to release details of Deng's spinal tap, according to TNT sideline reporter Rachel Nichols. Nichols was on the Waddle and Silvy Show on ESPN 1000 on Friday and said the Bulls just wanted it out there that he was sick.
It's unfortunate Deng felt like he was facing real criticism, because any Bulls fan worth his or her salt is well-aware of Deng's toughness. He led the league in minutes this season for the second straight year despite battling a right hamstring strain since January. He's also played without ligaments in his left wrist for a season and half.
Despite Deng tweeting he'll give it his best effort to play in Game 7, that possibility appears remote. The Bulls will likely also be without Kirk Hinrich, who continues to fight a bruised left calf.
Nate Robinson and Taj Gibson are feeling better for the Bulls, and Joakim Noah says he feels good. If the Bulls are going to make it to the second round of the playoffs for a date with the Heat, they're going to overcome a ton of adversity. The Bulls have been doing that sort of thing all season, but the odds only seem to get more difficult the longer this playoff run goes.