Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng has repeatedly spoken about his strong desire to play for Great Britain in the 2012 London Olympics, and Brendan Gallagher of The Telegraph is reporting that Deng will not have surgery and has been cleared by Bulls management to join the British team ahead of the Olympics. The lanky small forward battled through torn ligaments in his left wrist for the second half of the NBA season and into the playoffs, but the team had been pushing for him to get surgery in the offseason so he would be ready for next year -- star point guard Derrick Rose will be unavailable to the Bulls until at least late-December as he recovers from surgery to repair a torn ACL.
Great Britain is the host country of the Olympic games, so they have been given an automatic bid into the Men's basketball field. Deng stated his intention to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity after the season ended, and now the Bulls are on-board as Great Britain has agreed to take out a sizable insurance policy (terms are still being negotiated) on Deng for the games.
The plan -- as it relates to the Bulls -- is for Deng to undergo a post-tournament assessment to determine whether he will need surgery before the 2012-13 NBA season. Alternatively, he may be able to rest the wrist for three months until training camp begins and get back to action immediately.
As Gallagher notes in is column, the Bulls didn't have strong grounds to deny Deng the chance to pursue his childhood dream:
If the injury was such a massive concern and so likely to be aggravated why was he played so much when the Bulls were the first team to qualify for the NBA play-offs and he could have been rested for most of the last month of the regular season?
Great Britain plays in Group B in the 2012 London Olympics, which includes Spain, Brazil, China and Australia.