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DENG HAPPY TO BE BACK ON THE BULLS RUNLuol Deng aims to put his NBA career back on track tonight - and slam dunk his critics at the same time.

The Great Britain star missed Chicago Bulls' final 22 games last season and the play-offs with a stress fracture in his right tibia.

And he was criticised in America for not returning sooner after limping off against the Houston Rockets in February.

But Deng, back home in London for the NBA exhibition game between the Bulls and Utah Jazz at the O2 Arena tonight, said: "It is getting better, I have already played in one friendly and I am going to play on Tuesday.

"It is still sore at times but is moving a lot better. I knew with the injury I had I couldn't play - but there have been questions if I could play. It's been tough.

"I have been doing a lot to stay in shape and doing a lot of things I am allowed to." The NBA season starts at the end of this month, and the match at the O2 forms an important part of the preparation for the teams.

"It's really exciting," Deng said. "For me, it's great. There were so many great people here who helped me with my game growing up and it's exciting that they'll get to see me here in an NBA game, wearing my Chicago Bulls jersey, right at home where it all started."

Deng is the key player in the GB side, has 15 caps and his importance was shown when Chris Finch's side could not cope without him this summer.

But the Bulls have been very protective of their prized asset since he signed a lucrative six-year contract in July 2008 worth pounds 50million. And 6ft 9in Deng is determined to make up for lost time - both for club and country - when the new NBA season gets under way.

He said: "It is a huge season for me - I am excited. I really want to take the season seriously and am looking forward to it.

"It was tough last season as it is always hard to miss games. But this is a big season for the Bulls and it is really exciting looking ahead to the Olympics with GB too."

Deng, 24, grew up in South London after his family gained asylum from Sudan - and he has used the Bulls' trip to the capital to fuel up on his favourite food at Nando's.

"I am just so comfortable in London," said Arsenal fan Deng.

""It is always good to come back and see family, friends and familiar faces. We had a team dinner on Sunday night but I tried not to eat too much - and then went to Nando's!"

Deng was speaking at the NBA Take To The Courts event ahead of The NBA Europe Live game at the O2 tonight. Tip-off is 7.30pm and it will be broadcast live on ESPN, with commentary also available on Radio 5 Live.

Watch our interview with Luol Deng and other NBA stars at

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 6, 2009


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