CHICAGO -- Luol Deng has stated repeatedly that he will 'definitely' be playing for Team Great Britain during this summer’s London Olympics despite the fact that he has a torn ligament in his left wrist. But before he makes a final decision about his future, Bulls GM Gar Forman and coach Tom Thibodeau want to sit down and discuss all the options with him.
"We're going to sit down with Luol some time in the next week," Forman said Tuesday afternoon. "Obviously, the season ended, and we've had Derrick (Rose) and his (knee surgery) over the weekend. Our biggest concern for Luol -- and I know the Bulls' fans concern and Luol's concern -- is his health. We haven't had a chance to sit down with him at length, but we will in the next week and go from there."
Forman, Thibodeau and Deng have held out hope that Deng still may not require surgery. If he does, and he remains committed to the Olympics, he would be out three to four months, likely keeping him out for the first two months of next season. Bulls team physician Dr. Brian Cole said Tuesday that Rose would likely be out between eight to 12 months while recovering from surgery to fix a torn left ACL he suffered during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Deng, who suffered his wrist injury on Jan. 21 and decided to play through the season, remained passionate about his decision to play in the Olympics after the Sixers ended the Bulls' season last week.
"I’ve got to see how my wrist feels right now, going into the Olympics, and then right after the Olympics," Deng said after Game 6. "I’ll make the decision, whether if my wrist is good enough I don’t need the surgery, or if I’ll need it. I haven’t really ruled out not getting the surgery or getting it. I just haven’t made that decision. I just know I’ve got the Olympics ahead of me. Since I was a kid growing up, it's something I always wanted an opportunity to be part of. the fact that it’s in my hometown that I grew up in a country that gave me opportunity to even be here, I’m looking forward to it."
Forman just wants to make sure that everybody within the organization is on the same page with the decision.
"We've got to sit down in the next week and get a real feel for where it's at, the priority being Luol's health, for him and for us," Forman said. "We want, obviously, for him to be healthy. He played … he was pretty asymptomatic during the season. Again, [we] don't really have an answer at this point except we're looking forward to sitting down and going forward from there."
Thibodeau praised Deng after the Bulls were bounced from the playoffs last week and sounded appreciative of the effort Deng has given the franchise over the past year.
"I want a chance to sit down and see what his thoughts are, and I know he's given us everything that he has, so I have a lot of respect for that," Thibodeau said last week. "But we'll sit down at the end and we'll come up with a plan."
Deng acknowledged after the Philadelphia series that this was the toughest experience of his career.
"I look back at it and I’m glad I did it,” he said. “I really hope in the long run it’s going to make me a better player. I learned a lot of things to be capable to do that. I’m glad I made the decision. We had the best record, and we were going into the playoffs with the best team. It was definitely a great decision, unfortunately other things happened."