Deng still in Chicago; Hinrich game-time vs. Heat
Luol Deng will definitely not play in Monday's Game 1 against Miami. He was back in the hospital Sunday, still in Chicago, trying to recover from a bad reaction to a spinal tap administered Thursday. It's too soon to tell if he has a chance to play in Wednesday's Game 2.
Kirk Hinrich will test his injured calf and decide tonight whether or not he can play. He warmed up before Sunday's Game 7 in Brooklyn and decided he wasn't healthy enough to help the team.
Meanwhile, Derrick Rose spoke again at Monday's shootaround at American Airlines Arena, but his story hasn't changed. He won't play tonight, but won't rule out playing at some point in this series.
"Right now, I'm not ready so I'm just trying to take my time and just really, really be smart," Rose said, according to espn.com.
Another half-dozen columnists called on Rose to tell everyone he won't play during the playoffs. He probably won't play, but it's not clear what purpose such a statement would serve. The Bulls were so horrendously distracted by the Rose situation that they lost a playoff series to Brooklyn. Check that, they won. So why is a Rose declaration so important?
Also, keep in mind it's very possible Rose is doing the smart thing by making sure his surgically-repaired knee is completely healthy before returning to game action. This decision could turn out to help the Bulls much more in the long run than playing 20 minutes against Miami would.
Coach Tom Thibodeau repeated his usual lines about Deng's absence. This is certainly not an ideal situation since Deng has always guarded LeBron James.
"Lu's been a very important part of the team, sort of the glue of our team," Thibodeau said. "With that being said, he's missed games during the season and he missed games in the last series. We have more than enough to get it done and that's what we have to do."
Dwyane Wade, who say out Game 4 of the Milwaukee series to rest a sore knee, says he will play tonight.
It will be interested to see how the teams will respond tonight. Miami hasn't played in a week, while the Bulls are 48 hours removed from the Game 7 victory in Brooklyn. Will they be tired or still riding the momentum?
Don't forget, the Nets series started with a blowout loss. Losing badly tonight, causing the Heat to think this might be easy, isn't a terrible outcome for the Bulls, necessarily.