Luol Deng (left) and Kirk Hinrich. (AP)

Chicago Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau confirmed to reporters this morning that Bulls starting forward Luol Deng did not make the trip with the team to Brooklyn and will not be playing in Game 7 with illness.

Deng received a spinal tap, otherwise known as a lumbar puncture, a procedure that draws spinal fluid, usually for diagnostic purposes. "As a result of the spinal tap I suffered the worst headache I've ever experienced and been the weakest I've ever felt," Deng said on Twitter. Deng is still hospitalized.

Kirk Hinrich did make the trip with a severely sore calf but is "likely out," according to Thibodeau. Hinrich is officially listed as a game-time decision.

The Chicago Bulls nearly pulled off a victory without Deng and Hinrich in Game 6 at the United Center, falling to the Nets 95-92, which evened the series at 3 games apiece.

Derrick Rose is also officially out, as he has been all season.

(h/t tweets from K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune)

 

Kirk Hinrich defending Deron Williams. (AP)

With the Chicago Bulls up 3-2 in the best-of-seven series and one win away from facing the Miami Heat in the next round, Bulls point guard Kirk Hinrich is listed as doubtful for tonight's Game 6 against the Brooklyn Nets. Hinrich has a bruised left calf and left Game 4 wearing a walking boto to ease the pain. According to the Chicago Tribune, Hinrich no longer has the walking boot but limped to a podium to address reporters Wednesday. He suffered the injury taking a charge on Deron Williams.

Hinrich said "I'd have to improve some definitely" for a chance to play in Game 6.

Hinrich has been a key cover on Williams in this series, and the team's defense is staggeringly better with him on the court: the Bulls have surrendered 20 fewer points per 100 possessions in this series when he's on the floor.

Game 6 starts in Chicago at United Center at 8 P.M. EST.

Read More: Chicago Tribune -- Hinrich remains doubtful for Game 6

 

Hinrich won't defend Deron Williams tonight. (AP)

With the Brooklyn Nets’ inaugural season hanging in the balance, some important news has broken from Chicago: Kirk Hinrich is out for Game 5 tonight. Out with a bruised left calf, Hinrich was seen sporting a walking boot and moving with a noticeable limp today.

Hinrich poured in a crucial 18 points and 14 assists in Chicago’s triple overtime winner against Brooklyn on Saturday to go up 3-1 in the series. Most importantly, he has frustrated Deron Williams all series relentlessly with tough, tight defense. The loss of Hinrich throws a wrinkle into the Bulls’ defensive strategy: With the constant use of offensively challenged players like Gerald Wallace and Reggie Evans, the Bulls have loaded up on Williams and Lopez, often double teaming with Joakim Noah, Kirk Hinrich, Jimmy Butler and Luol Deng whenever possible.

On one hand, Kirk Hinrich being unavailable should make Nets fan wildly grin; without him, Deron Williams should have a huge offensive advantage. However, does this mean we’ll see 48 minutes of the man, the myth, the legend Nate Robinson? In perhaps one of the greatest NBA playoff performances of all-time, Robinson brought the Bulls back from 14 points down in three minutes with a wild assortment of three-pointers, assists and running bankshots.

With Hinrich out, it certainly means that Nate Robinson will get the majority of the point guard minutes tonight. So the question remains: would you rather go against Hinrich's defense or Nate’s offense?

 

The Brooklyn Nets will face the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs, starting Saturday night at 8 P.M. Today and tomorrow, we'll take a look at how the teams match up.

Deron Williams

Deron Williams leads the Brooklyn Nets into their first playoffs. (AP)

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Chicago Bulls starting point guard Kirk Hinrich and starting center Joakim Noah will both sit tonight against the Brooklyn Nets. Hinrich was announced out by the team and Noah told ESPN Chicago that he would not play.

Both players are big blows to Chicago's chances of victory -- Hinrich is a steady, solid point guard and Noah anchors the Bulls defense, currently ranked second in the NBA in efficiency.

Additionally, Bulls starting power forward Carlos Boozer is a game-time decision.