Luol Deng explains his Game 6 absence, a game he missed after a spinal tap procedure, on Twitter

During Thursday night’s Chicago Bulls loss to the Brooklyn Nets, a report surfaced that turned Luol Deng’s “he’s sick and missed practice”-diagnosis to something altogether more severe. Aggrey Sam reported that Deng had undergone a spinal tap at a local hospital in order to test for meningitis, which is why Deng was sent home from the United Center prior to Game 6.

Because Taj Gibson looked terribly sick during the contest, and Nate Robinson actually had to throw up into a wastebasket on the Bulls bench, the popular take was that Deng must have had the fluiest-flu of them all, but nothing more than the flu. This was exacerbated after the game by Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who referred to Deng’s illness as “flu-like symptoms.”

This allows for idiots on Twitter to attack Deng’s resilience in the hours following. And by Friday afternoon, Deng appears to have had enough. Here are a series of his tweets, thankfully letting us and the public know what the Chicago Bulls saw fit to keep in house, while referring to his “symptoms.”

People on Twitter can be pretty awful. Especially when criticizing a player that has played without working ligaments in his left wrist for over a year, while leading the NBA in minutes per game.

Still, it begs the question why Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau couldn’t be bothered to mention as much following Thursday’s Game 6 loss. Thibodeau was asked directly about the report that surfaced during Game 6 about Deng undergoing the exact same procedure Luol outlined in his Twitter comments. Thibodeau sloughed it off and described Deng’s malady as "A viral something something. Flu-like symptoms, whatever."


If Thibodeau didn’t know about the spinal tap procedure, that’s one thing. That’s a worrying thing – a team’s head coach should know if his longest-tenured player went through a major procedure the day before – but maybe in Thibodeau’s one-track world he didn’t want nor receive an update.

But if Thibs did know? And if the head coach of the Chicago Bulls sat at a press conference and told the assembled media (and, by extension, the team’s Twitter-using fans) that Deng had "A viral something something. Flu-like symptoms, whatever,” then the coach owes the player an apology.

Is it the coach’s fault that people on Twitter are massive jerks? No.

Is it his fault for not relaying the severity of what Luol Deng had no problem telling his fans? Yes. Yes, so many times, yes. Part of being a head coach is being full and truthful with your disclosure of injuries and ailments, because you are the voice of the franchise. You don’t get to hide behind assistant coach-levels of obscurity. It’s not a cute, “he’s a game-time decision” trick anymore. Luol Deng has given up his body at 40 minutes a night for these Chicago Bulls for years, and they can’t even be bothered to let their fans know what he’s desperately trying to recover from in time to suit up for Game 7?

And for those that were wondering, via CSN Chicago, this is what Luol Deng is trying to recover from:

Besides clearly being under the weather, Deng was also suffering from the side effects of the aforementioned procedure, which draws fluid from a person's brain and back, then heavily impairs their ability to function, as was evidenced by the league's back-to-back minutes-per-game leader wobbling down the arena's hallway.

Why the Chicago Bulls didn’t think that the team’s fans needed to be made aware of this is stunning.