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News » Deng's work pays off in U.K. 'home' game


Deng's work pays off in U.K. 'home' game


Deng's work pays off in U.K. 'home' game There were many doubts about Luol Deng over the summer because of the stress fracture in his lower right leg that caused him to miss the final 2? months of the regular season and the playoffs.

But no one in the Bulls organization had any doubts about his work ethic.

''Luol basically lived in the gym to the point at times we felt like we had to kick him out of here,'' general manager Gar Forman said. ''I remember early in the summer, we were preparing for the draft, and he had been working out. He had worked out in the morning in the weight room, and then he had a workout in the afternoon on the floor doing some skill work.

''I go down to our kitchen at about 6 o'clock at night, and he's down there eating dinner. I said, 'Luol, what are you doing here?' He had put himself on a plan where rather than going home, he was bringing his dinner to the Berto Center, heating it up in our kitchen and then would get another workout in the evening.''

Deng put in the work to make sure he would be ready for training camp. After sitting out for so long last season, he wanted to leave no doubt about his health.

The Bulls' trip to London this week was another motivating factor. You can be sure Deng didn't want to watch from the sideline as the Bulls played a preseason game in his adopted hometown.

''I grew up there, and I'm excited to be playing in front of family and friends,'' he said. ''I'm excited for the guys. As a team, taking a trip like that -- traveling together, playing together -- to a different continent is good.

''I'm gonna do my best to take the guys around and show them around. But I'm also excited about the fans in London. There's a lot of Chicago Bulls fans, and some of these guys will get to experience it. Chicago is such a known team, it's unbelievable how many fans we have in London.''

Deng has passed every health test in camp. The biggest came Friday night in the preseason opener against the Indiana Pacers. In 24 minutes, he had 15 points, five rebounds and three assists. He was a little rusty at times, but the biggest issue was there was no issue with the leg.

''It's been a while since I played,'' he said. ''I got a little winded in the first half, but I started to get a little rhythm and wind back in the second quarter.''

Now that there's no doubt about his health, Deng is free to assume his role as the team's unofficial host and tour guide for the London trip. He had some things planned, but the reality of the tight schedule during the three-plus days hit home before the team left Saturday night.

''If there was time, I was gonna have my mom cook for everybody,'' he said. ''That would really be nice, but we won't have time for that.

''It's going to be hard with the schedule. We have a lot that we're doing, and I know once we get in, everyone's gonna want to sleep. I think we have one off day, but we have a lot of stuff that we're doing as a team.''

The Bulls were scheduled to land in London about 6:30 a.m. today and practice shortly after arriving at their hotel.

Deng is a big soccer fan and wanted to attend an English Premier League match, but he's committed to judge a dunk contest at the same time. Then there's the main event, the preseason game Tuesday against the Utah Jazz.

''I'm just excited to play in front of friends and family,'' he said. ''Whatever we have to do is fine.''


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 6, 2009

 

 
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