While the small forward has not been officially ruled out of future games, it seems unlikely that he will suit up anytime soon. According to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, Deng has been "battling an illness and complications from a spinal tap to test for viral meningitis. The test was negative, but Deng has been in and out of the hospital since May 1."
Of course, that is only the beginning of his problems. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune goes into more details of Deng's health problems:
Deng said he lost 15 pounds. #Bulls— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) May 9, 2013
Deng: "I’m weak and I have headaches. When I’m moving around a lot, my headaches increase." #Bulls— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) May 9, 2013
Deng: "I want to play but I don’t know what I can do. I haven’t done anything. It really sucks." #Bulls— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) May 9, 2013
Johnson goes into a little too much detail here, as this is where it starts to get a bit too graphic.
While it is nice that he is fighting hard to find his way back to the court, the chances of playing for the remainder of the series against the Miami Heat are not good.
Who will win the series?
This should dramatically affect the Bulls' ability to win games, especially against the best team in the NBA. However, the squad continues to fight hard as new players take advantage of their opportunities.
In Game 1, Nate Robinson came through with 27 points, plus Jimmy Butler added 21 points and 14 rebounds while playing all 48 minutes. These contributions, combined with the continuous hustle of Joakim Noah, helped Chicago win 93-86.
Although the team fell apart in Game 2, returning home with the series split puts them in great position to pull off the upset.
Just as importantly, the loss of Deng will not hurt this team too much in the upcoming games. Butler has started in his place at the wing and his defense has been nothing short of amazing. His size and strength make him the best option against LeBron James in this series.
Also, Robinson has increased his scoring from 13.1 points per game in the regular season to 17.4 in the postseason. He has taken over the role as the team's go-to scorer, and his ability to make clutch shots has helped this club stay alive in the playoffs.
Obviously, Deng is a great player who is coming off one of the best years of his career; however, Chicago has the mental toughness to remain in contention in this brutal series.
If the Bulls can remain strong at home like they have all season, they have what it takes to shock the world and beat the defending champs.