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News » No surprise: Deng will skip European championships


No surprise: Deng will skip European championships


No surprise: Deng will skip European championships
Bulls forward Luol Deng made it official Monday: He will skip the European championships later this summer and concentrate on making a full recovery from the stress fracture that kept him sidelined for the final 29 games of last season.

The decision was not a surprise, but it means Deng won?t be able to continue his incredible run with Great Britain?s national team.

Britain had never made any kind of ripple in international Basketball until Deng carried the squad through two years of qualifying and earned a spot in the 16-team EuroBasket tournament, which will be held in Poland beginning Sept. 7.

Deng expressed his disappointment during a conference call Monday with reporters in England.

"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," Deng said.

"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."

During another interview with The Telegraph, Deng said he just recently started running and was cleared to shoot baskets a few weeks ago. The stress fracture was near the top of his right shin, and tests showed that the injury is healing well.

"With the pace I?m going right now, I should be healthy enough to play in ( Bulls ) training camp and in the season," he added. "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. I should be healthy for the NBA season."

The extent of his injury made skipping the European championships a no-brainer for

Deng, but he insisted the Bulls never pressured him to sit out.

"The decision was mine," he said.

"I knew that if I am not 100 percent, then playing for GB would not be a good idea because I would not be starting the (NBA) season 100 percent, either.

"If I was healthy I would definitely be playing, and I?m sure the Bulls wouldn?t mind it. But because of my injury it changed a lot of things."

Deng promised to be at London?s O2 Arena for a warmup tournament against Israel, Poland and Turkey on Aug. 14-16. The Bulls also are scheduled to play a preseason game in London on Oct. 6 against the Utah Jazz.

Deng was born in Sudan but left with his family a few years later to escape a civil war and eventually settled in London. Former Bulls guard Ben Gordon, who was born in London, also declined to join the British team this summer.

French call for Noah: Joakim Noah suited up for the French national team last weekend in an exhibition tournament at Strasbourg. He scored a combined 27 points in victories over Austria and the Czech Republic.

According to FIBA.com, the French team has asked the Bulls to allow Noah to play in some qualifying games for the European championships.

Unlike Great Britain, France did not secure a berth in the tournament, known as EuroBasket ?09, last summer and is now one of six countries vying for the final spot in Poland.

France will play two games each against Italy and Finland, beginning Aug. 5.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: July 29, 2009

 

 
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