Though he's not a very frequent user of Instagram (he had posted seven pics in the previous 11 weeks), Deng posted a photo of himself watching the game from his hospital bed. "So proud of my team man, this bed might be good luck after all," he commented.
Deng was an ironman for Chicago all year long. He led the NBA in minutes per game this season at 38.7 a night over 75 games.
That has certainly taken its toll on his immune system, and the the Bulls' triple-overtime victory in Game 4 couldn't have helped, either, as Deng played 57 minutes in that marathon.
For Chicago's Game 6 against the Brooklyn Nets, Taj Gibson and Nate Robinson were fighting off the flu. But Deng missed the game completely and had to actually get a spinal tap to check for meningitis.
USA TODAY Sports @USATODAYsports
Bulls' Luol Deng has spinal tap to test for meningitis: http://t.co/bkCCpdI3Sl (@JeffZillgitt)5/3/2013, 6:03:30 AM
Also known as a lumbar puncture, the test involves extracting cerebrospinal fluid and can often lead to severe headaches and nausea as the wound heals. Standing or even sitting upright can be difficult and painful for several days after the procedure (per WebMD.com).
Playing through a torn hip flexor is one thing, but coming back from a spinal tap to play postseason basketball is another matter entirely.
And fortuitously, the Bulls have excelled in Deng's absence.
They stole an improbable Game 7 victory in Brooklyn and followed it up by beating the Miami Heat in South Florida Monday night. While it's a little early to rechristen Bill Simmons' "Ewing Theory" as the "Deng Theory," there's no denying that Chicago has flourished with him laid up in the hospital.
We wish Deng a speedy recovery, but maybe that bed is good luck. In keeping with playoff superstitions, stick with it until it stops working.
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