Deng Seeks Win-Win After Brits’ Loss

Luol Deng got what he wanted and now, from the sound of it, the Chicago Bulls will get what they want, too. Namely, Deng ready and available for Bulls training camp and the start of the 2012-13 NBA season.

The concern heading in to the 2012 London Olympics was that Deng’s participation for host Great Britain, as its best player and NBA ambassador in its first men’s basketball competition since 1964, would cut into his day job. Specifically, fans and some team personnel worried about Deng’s busy schedule and crowded timeline as it related to torn ligaments in his left wrist; if he were going to get those surgically repaired, waiting until after the Olympics could push his recovery well into the regular season.

And life already figured to be tough enough without Derrick Rose, rehabbing from the torn ACL he suffered in his left knee in Chicago’s playoff opener.

Initally, some were frustrated that Deng didn’t pounce on the Bulls’ early elimination from the postseason as the time for his surgery. But the 6-8 small forward was determined to play for Great Britain, gobbling up more than three months of the offseason. Now, however, Deng likely will skip surgery and play 2012-13 with the wrist as is.

“Did I look like I needed [surgery]?” Deng said Monday after his squad won its final Olympic game. “I’m fine right now. I feel great. There are a lot of things I want to improve in my game that I want to focus on now. I want to be a better player than I was last year. … I have time to make decisions and be healthy by the time we start [training camp].”

Uh, considering Deng made only 31.4 percent of his shots in the tournament, the answer to his question might not be the one he was going for rhetorically. He averaged 15.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists.

But Kobe Bryant has been able to play with similar damage to apparently “optional” ligaments. Bulls team surgeon Brian Cole thinks that might work for Deng,  and the fact is, Deng played most of last season’s second half despite the injury.

Deng said he had absolutely no second thoughts about his Olympic experience, though at 1-4 Great Britain didn’t get within sniffing distance of a medal. “If the Olympics were next month, I’d play again,” he said. “This is something no one will ever take away. I’m always going to remember this moment, walking out for the opening ceremonies and playing with guys I played with my whole life.”

What he might have second thoughts about, though, is shouldering so much of the load this season for the Bulls in Rose’s absence. Even Deng’s surgeon hasn’t weighed in yet on how his bum wrist will hold up under that burden.

10 Comments

  1. L Dribble says:

    The only reason he shot 31% is that GB doesn’t have a strong team compared to much of the competition so he was having to take tough shots most of the time creating stuff off the dribble and taking contested jumpshots. He rarely got open baskets. Not a reasonable comment at all.

  2. 23toNiiiice says:

    You people are dumb for thinking this is going to be a wasted season for the bulls just because rose is out. They’ll be a top 4 team in the east easy WITHOUT rose expecting anything less is just not healthy.

  3. han says:

    Bulls and their fans have no right to criticise Luol Deng for not opting for surgery earlier. He injured his wrist in January, He could have had the surgery then and missed out on his first all star appearance and a tough season for the Bulls that worked him tirelessly to the point where he lead the league in minutes. The guy never complained he just went about his business and then filled on his commitments to his country unlike some disgraceful no shows (Ben Gordon, Bryon Mullens).
    And to be honest the Bulls are going no where this season with Rose due to be out until March, No Deng for a few months could provide them some luck in the lottery.

  4. Bullsfanforlife says:

    Your the man Lu. Get some rest and them get ready for the season. Help hold down the fort until Derrick returns. Then help them go all the way to the finals! Go Bulls!

  5. MK7 says:

    Thank you Luol for being a loyal servant to our country! It’s a bit harsh to pinpoint Luol’s low FG%, he was the focus of the defense in every game, some of the shots he made under such defensive pressure were ridiculous. I agree with Greg, the Deng bashing over his Olympics decision needs to stop. How can you turn down playing at your home Olympics. I’m British, and I would have absolutely no problem with Deng taken the summer off next year instead of going to Eurobasket. You’ve earned a rest Luol, thank you again for representing our country with such loyalty!

  6. Eazy says:

    No lie… It doesn’t really matter… I’m a Chicagoan, and without Derrick Rose, the season is lost anyway… Let Deng enjoy representing his country!!!

  7. Greg says:

    Ok lets get something quite straight!! As a British NBA fan I’m getting and have got a little sick of the Deng Bashing. Representing your country ……….are we really questioning this !!!!

  8. SensibleScot says:

    One question that kills this whole, should Deng be at the Olympics…

    Do you think Kobe, with a broken ankle, would miss a home (US) Olympic games?

  9. Daniel says:

    Is London eliminated from the basketball tourney?.

    • Will says:

      London was eliminated the second that it was discovered that it was a city, not a country ;) Damn Londoners trying to become independent!