Chicago Bulls all-star Luol Deng has been ruled out of the critical Game 6 in the Bulls-Nets series, the team announced just a few minutes ago. Deng was initially listed in the starting lineup, but has been scratched at the last minute. Marco Belinelli will start for Deng, with Jimmy Butler sliding to the small forward slot.
Deng is known as one of the league's iron men, averaging 38.7 minutes per game in the regular season and a whopping 44.8 per game in the series. He has played through all sorts of pain at various times over the past three seasons, so his illness must be serious if he is sitting out. The illness has spread among the Bulls and also affects Nate Robinson and Taj Gibson, who will both play despite being under the weather.
The loss of Deng significantly hampers the Bulls' chances of ending the series on Thursday. Chicago leads 3-2 after the Nets won Game 5. If the Bulls fall, Game 7 will be played on Saturday in Brooklyn.