Luol Deng and his wrist, Joakim Noah and his ankle were two names near the top of the lengthy scroll of Chicago Bulls injuries that undid them in the first round of the playoffs.
But those injuries are not keeping Noah or Deng out of the Olympics this summer. Both confirmed since the Bulls were eliminated from the playoffs.
Deng reiterated what he has all along — that he is going to represent Great Britain and be the face of the host country’s basketball program at the London Olympics, and then he will get surgery on his wrist if needed. Even if that means missing the start of next season. From Aggrey Sam at CSNChicago.com:
“I just know that I’m looking forward to playing the Olympics. I’m excited about it, something I wanted to do since I was a kid and I’m going to prepare myself for it,” he explained. “I’ve got to see how my wrist feels throughout the Olympics, how it feels from now going into the Olympics and right after the Olympics, I’ll make the decision, whether my wrist is good enough that I don’t need the surgery or if I need it, so I haven’t really ruled out not getting the surgery or getting it. I just haven’t made that decision. Just know that 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 a part of and the fact that it’s in my hometown that I grew up in, in a country that gave me the opportunity to even be here, I’m looking forward to it.”
Noah is part of what should be a medal-contending French side. (The USA and Spain are the teams to beat, but France with Noah, Tony Parker, Nicolas Batum and others could medal.)
Noah will play in the Olympics, he told K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. While this was a pretty badly sprained ankle he should be fine for both the Olympics and the start of next training camp.
These decisions — particularly Deng’s — may frustrate Bulls fans, but I find it hard to fault a guy for loyalty to his country when if this were Rose playing hurt to be part of Team USA he would be lauded.