Luol Deng injury: Bulls forward out for Game 1 vs. Heat

Bruce Bennett

Luol Deng has still not joined his teammates in Miami and is out for Game 1 against the Heat due to an illness.

Chicago Bulls small forward Luol Deng will not play in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Miami Heat on Monday due to complications following a spinal tap procedure.

Deng was initially scheduled to fly with the team to Miami on Sunday, but he remained in Chicago after returning to the hospital in the morning. He was then expected to join his teammates on Monday, but he still has not done so and it's unclear whether he will.

The Bulls' All-Star missed Games 6 and 7 against the Brooklyn Nets after testing negative for viral meningitis. There were some complications after the spinal tap, as leaking spinal fluid caused intense migraines and disorientation. Deng needed a "blood patch" to correct the issue and was released from the hospital on Saturday night before returning on Sunday.

Marco Belinelli stepped up big in Deng's absence, scoring 22 points in a Game 6 loss and 24 in the Game 7 victory. Belinelli is expected to once again get the starting nod at the 2, with Jimmy Butler sliding over to the 3.

Not having Deng available is a tough blow for the Bulls, as they need all the help they can get against LeBron James. James has had success against Deng this year, but the Bulls forward always makes the MVP work hard for his points. Butler is an excellent defender and is sure to do the same, but his offense may take a hit because so much effort will be spent trying to contain James.

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