There's a disturbing pattern that emerges when star athletes get hurt.
Just about anytime sports fans question an injury to a player, the first thing that is questioned is that player's "manhood." The player is even more scrutinized when the injury occurs before or during a playoff game.
Next, fans run to social media questioning that player's mettle without having all the facts. And once they learn the facts, there are still those who are not as forgiving as they should be.
Now Luol Deng has entered the category of "questionable" sports injuries along with Derrick Rose and Jay Cutler.
When I first heard about Deng not playing because he had the flu, like most people I said, "Jordan played with the flu, why can't he?" Then I snapped out of Stupid Armchair Doctor Bulls Fan Mode. I found out that Deng had been tested for meningitis and underwent a spinal tap procedure.
Then I said, "Yeah, I know what it is like to undergo a meningitis test." Two years ago during the holidays, a doctor stuffed a needle in my spine (Think Season 2 of "Boardwalk Empire"). I was placed on my side. Then the doctor inserted the needle into my spine, and because of an involuntary reflex, I kicked a chair across the room.
The procedure was scary. I would not wish it on my worst enemy. The worst part is the tension headaches afterward. They are so intense that you can't see, much less play basketball. Also, I had an MRI exam done after that procedure. If Deng needed the same test, it's not fun for someone his size to be crammed into that machine.
Even though Deng was released from the hospital, the headaches don't go away for a few days. So don't worry, Bulls fans. Deng will be back soon. I think we can cut him some slack.
The Bulls fans who were in a hurry to write off Deng as "soft" likely didn't realize that he just went through a real and scary thing.
Remember how people said that if you have not gone through an ACL tear like Rose did, you should shut up? Well, that's good advice in Deng's case, too.
Evan F. Moore is a RedEye special contributor.
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