Deng reflects on spinal tap

Deng reflects on spinal tap

Posted by mikemcgraw on Tue, 07/30/2013 - 22:54

After the spinal tap incident sidelined Luol Deng for the final seven games of the playoffs, he mostly stayed silent, other than a few health updates on Twitter.

Deng finally addressed the incident in an interview posted on He’s currently in Ghana for one of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders events.

“The end of the season was disappointing,” Deng said. “I worked hard all season, played in the All-Star (Game), and wanted to take the team as far as possible in the playoffs. But then, when I got sick, I think that we could have handled the situation better.

“Obviously there are some things that you can’t handle. You can’t really handle getting sick, being taken to the ER or going to the hospital. I got the spinal tap and that’s where it went all wrong. My body didn’t react well to the spinal tap. I had some serious side effects that not only didn’t allow me to play basketball, but really put my life in danger.”

No matter how you slice it, Deng’s hospital visit on the afternoon of Game 6 vs. Brooklyn didn’t go well. Due to concerns he could have meningitis, Deng was given a spinal tap.

As it turned out, he didn’t have meningitis. His body began to leak spinal fluid after the procedure, leaving him in no shape to move around, let alone play basketball.

After a few rough days, there was nothing to do but wait for his body to replenish the fluid. The Bulls say Deng is doing fine now.

“It’s something that I wouldn’t want anyone to go through,” he added. “When I went through it, I think that basketball became second. My family was very worried. I never want to experience something like that again.”

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