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News » Deng: I'm almost back to full speed

Deng: I'm almost back to full speed

Deng: I'm almost back to full speed
Luol Deng confirmed Monday what the Bulls brass had said: He won't play for Great Britain this summer.

Deng, a 6-9 forward, was limited to 49 games last season because of a stress fracture in his right shin. He said the injury was still a concern.

''It's a very tough decision not being able to play, but it was just a tough year last year with my injury,'' Deng said. ''The fracture of my leg was such a serious injury that I need all summer in order to go full speed and I'm not full speed yet, but I'm almost there. Right now, it's the right decision, hopefully it will come out as a small sacrifice for my future with the Bulls and my future playing with GB.''

Deng is the leader of the Great Britain team, and London is the host city for the 2012 Olympics.

Deng said he will be ready to go for the start of the Bulls season. Training camp begins in September, and the Bulls will play a preseason game Oct. 6 in London.

''With the pace I'm going right now, I should be healthy enough to play in training camp and in the season,'' he said. ''I'm just not 100 percent right now, but I am able to put more pressure on my foot, which I wasn't during last season.''

Deng said the stress fracture will not slow him down next season.

''It is my first major injury, but I think you learn a lot,'' he said. ''You learn a lot about your body, you learn a lot about work ethic and how much you have to push yourself. You want to get healthy, but you also want to prove to people that you can get back to the level you were at or even better. So this injury drives me to become a better player, and that's really what I want to get out of this injury.''

Deng has tried to get former Bulls guard Ben Gordon, who was born in London, to play with Britain. Gordon has yet to accept the invitation. Deng said the fact Gordon signed a free-agent contract with the Detroit Pistons likely led to Gordon taking a pass.

''Ben was very interested in playing,'' Deng said. ''I don't believe that his decision came from me not playing. I really believe that Ben thought he might be back here with the Bulls , and I think it would have been an easier summer -- coming back to play for the same team, the same place, the same house.

''Now I think that his plans have all changed. Now he signed with Detroit, he has to go back there and get a place and work out, he has to get adjusted to new guys.''

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Added: July 28, 2009


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