MIAMI (AP) — Derrick Rose still has not ruled out a return this season for the Chicago Bulls, saying he could play in their Eastern Conference semifinal against the Miami Heat.
The 2011 NBA MVP will not play for Chicago in Game 1 against Miami on Monday night, nor will forward Luol Deng or guard Kirk Hinrich. Deng returned to a hospital for more tests, the Bulls said, and underwent a spinal tap to rule out viral meningitis after becoming ill last week. Hinrich will miss his fourth straight game with a calf injury.
Rose has not played in more than a year while recovering from reconstructive knee surgery. He was hurt in last season's playoffs.
"Still in the air," Rose said Monday before the Bulls went through a game-day practice in Miami. "I might have a chance."
So might Hinrich and Deng, both of whom are listed as day-to-day by the Bulls. Hinrich is trying to work through the calf problem, and Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Deng should be flying to Miami on Tuesday.
"He's feeling a little better," Thibodeau said.
Without Hinrich, the Bulls lose one of their best defenders against Dwyane Wade — who has been bothered for several weeks by bone bruises around his right knee. Hinrich has been rehabbing and trying to return to the lineup.
"It's slow, steady progress," Thibodeau said. "But he's still not there."
Thibodeau said Deng was no longer in the hospital when the two spoke Monday morning.
"Lu's been a very important part of the team, sort of the glue of our team," Thibodeau said. "That being said, he's missed games during the season. He missed games in the last series. We have more than enough to get it done and that's what we have to do."
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