Health concerns are likely to prevent Luol Deng from returning to be a factor in the Eastern Conference semifinals for the Chicago Bulls.
Deng said he's lost 15 pounds and remains weakened by a spinal tap procedure. Deng's toughness has been questioned, but following a brief attempt to shoot Thursday, those suggestions should be put to rest.
"I want to play but I don't know what I can do. I haven't done anything. It really sucks," he said. "I'm weak and I have headaches. When I'm moving around a lot, my headaches increase."
Deng said that in addition to the weight loss, he was playing with a wrist injury and a fractured thumb.
He didn't travel to New Jersey for Game 7 of the first-round series against the Nets and was still in a hospital bed for the first two games of the current series with the Miami Heat.
"I started throwing up, constant diarrhea. I couldn't control my body really," he said. "Because of that, I lost a lot of weight."
And the Bulls are losing all of their depth with Deng down, Kirk Hinrich (calf) out and Derrick Rose not likely to play after missing the entire 2012-13 season.
Rookie Marquis Teague has been forced into more minutes -- about 12 per game --to spare supersub Nate Robinson, the point guard pushed into a starting role with Hinrich out. Jimmy Butler played all 48 minutes in the final two games of the Nets' series and in Game 1 at Miami.
"He's doing his job," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "We expect him to be in shape. He's played a lot and done a good job. With Lou being out, we're a little short-handed, so he has to play more now."