CHICAGO — In an exclusive interview with the one and only Chuck Swirsky, Luol Deng said he didn’t know where the reports he’ll be back by this Sunday came from.
“You know it’s a day by day thing. I’d say I’m about a week away. I really don’t know it’s hard to tell” Deng said to Swirsky. “It’s a really bad injury but I really believe I’ll be back soon.”
But when he was asked by Swirsky whether or not he was ruling out playing on Sunday, Deng showed a lot of surprise that it was reported he would play.
“You know Chuck I’m not really sure where that came from. I really said if I could go tonight I would. If I am able to go on Sunday I will, whatever game I can.” said Deng.
Reports began surfacing early yesterday that Deng stated he’d be back on Sunday when the Bulls begin their nine game road trip in Miami. The news spread like wildfire, raising hope in Bulls fans that Deng’s injury wasn’t as severe as indicated.
“I don’t know where that date came from, I’ve never really put an exact date on it.” Deng said.
Deng brought up a good point when he countered reports he’d be back by saying he needs to be very careful with his wrist so that it doesn’t become a recurring injury throughout the season. Deng has elected to not have surgery on the wrist which will mean he won’t have a situation Joakim Noah had where he misses significant time then has to rehab back.
He did, however, confirm reports that he is further along then he was a week ago.
“I’m able to dribble on the court.” he said. “It’s really improving at a very fast rate which is really what we want.”
The main thing bother Deng is that he can’t be on the court with his teammates. It’s no secret that because Luol Deng wasn’t on the court against the Pacers Wednesday the Bulls suffered down the stretch. Both the Bulls and the Pacers went on record saying because Deng wasn’t on the court, the game changed significantly.
“It’s tough to have to just sit there and watch but I just have to be as vocal as possible. One thing I try to do is in the fourth quarter I remind the guys how much time is left.”
Now that Deng has no timetable for his return, the Bulls need to start to plan this nine game road trip without him. But the story that is growing out of the Deng situation is all the misinformation coming out of Chicago. Within a week Deng has gone from out for the season to fine to out to being back for the Heat game to know not knowing when he’ll come back. There is definitely a culture of keeping things in-house in Chicago which is really only bad for us nosey media type. It’s a tactical move for the Bulls which not only keeps us in the dark but more importantly the rest of the teams in the NBA.