NEW YORK (AP) — Luol Deng will miss Game 7 of Chicago’s series against the Brooklyn Nets, but the Bulls still hope Kirk Hinrich can play.
Coach Tom Thibodeau said Deng remains hospitalized in Chicago with an illness and is unable to travel for Saturday night’s game. The starting forward was tested for meningitis this week and Thibodeau said the team is still waiting for results.
Hinrich has missed the last two games with a bruised left calf, and the Nets won both to even the series. He has done little besides shooting, but Thibodeau said the point guard will warm up and see how he feels.
“If I feel like there’s any way, a chance, I could help, I’m going to go out there and give it a go,” Hinrich said at the Bulls’ morning shootaround, a bag of ice wrapped around his calf.
Thibodeau didn’t say who would start, only that he had an idea but could still change his mind.
He also said Nate Robinson and Taj Gibson, who played through the flu Thursday night in a Game 6 loss, were both feeling better.
Even with all Chicago’s injuries, Derrick Rose said he hasn’t been pressured by anyone in the organization to play. Rose has sat out all season after tearing his ACL in last year’s playoff opener, and though he has been practicing, he still doesn’t feel healthy enough to play.
“I’m feeling about the same,” he said. “Still being patient, still trying to take care of my body and just been trying to enjoy this time but cheer on my teammates.”
Rose has been criticized for not attempting to play with all the injuries around him, but the Bulls have continued to defend the 2011 MVP, saying he is working hard. Neither he nor the team has ruled out a return this season, though Rose said the advantage of taking the whole year off would be coming back healthy next fall.
“If I do take the whole year off, if I don’t play anymore, I know I’m going to come back a better player, but I guess my body will be healed more but who knows,” Rose said.
If the Bulls win Saturday, they would open the second round at Miami on Monday.
“I think we’ve been a good road team all year and we have to play our best tonight,” Thibodeau said.