Bulls enter Heat series without Deng, Hinrich

Bulls enter Heat series without Deng, Hinrich
May 6, 2013, 6:00 pm
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MIAMI—Bulls starters Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng missed Game 1 of the team’s conference-semifinal playoff series Monday against the Heat.

Hinrich is sidelined with a left-calf injury, which he suffered in the Bulls’ Game 4 triple-overtime win of their opening-round series against the Nets.

“Just going day to day,” Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said about the floor general. “We’ll see where he is [Wednesday].”

As far as Deng, the All-Star small forward remains in Chicago as he recuperates from the aftereffects of a spinal-tap procedure last week.

Deng will arrive in Miami “hopefully [Wednesday],” Thibodeau said. “[Deng’s status is the] same [as Hinrich’s], day-to-day.

“[Deng’s absence is due to] more the aftereffects of the spinal tap,” he continued. “I spoke to him today. He’s feeling a little better.”

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra showed some compassion for his counterpart’s plight.

“I have a couple cards that are ready to go, always,” he quipped before the game. “It’s easier for me to keep perspective. I’m sure Tom probably has about seven cards going into each game. I have two.”

Still, Spoelstra insists that Miami will be prepared for the Bulls, with or without some of their key players.

“Again, it’s more about our competitive spirit and what we’re bringing and ready for tonight, so that’s why this week, we really wanted to get after it. We wanted to balance working and trying to simulate playoff intensity, so a couple of practice were more training camp-ish, but also having an opportunity to rest and get ourselves ready for this. We expect it to be a very physical series. The two organizations are similar, form the standpoint of being culture system organizations, so one guy goes out, their game doesn’t change. Another guy steps in. you still expect them to compete and have the same defensive system, the things that they’re known for,” he said. “We hope that that’s not an issue. Our guys have respect for our opponent tonight and we know that this will be a physical, competitive series and we’ll have to earn everything that we get. We saw; our guys are aware. But you don’t even have to see the last series. Our guys know who we’re facing.”