I'm sure there was a time Luol Deng thought he couldn't succeed here in Chicago.
It could have been in 2007 where fans were pleading to Kobe Bryant to forget about playing with Luol Deng, let him go to Los Angeles, and play here in Chicago. It could have also been in 2009 where the Chicago Bulls organization submitted a press release subliminally calling out Luol Deng's toughness to battle through a mysterious shin injury. Or it may have been the incessant trade rumors Luol Deng is a part of. Rumors of Deng going to the Clippers, Trail Blazers, Magic, and the Lakers, Luol Deng must have felt alone, unwanted, doubted.
Prior to Luol Deng's wrist injury, his value to the Chicago Bulls was a bit unsettling. Playing alongside the league's MVP, not being voted to an All-Star game, and injury problems may have played a role to that sentiment. However in the past 2 days, Luol Deng is considered as "irreplaceable" as analysts claim the Bulls cannot win a Championship without Luol Deng... even if the Bulls still have Derrick Rose.
Luol Deng suffered a torn ligament from Monday's game versus Phoenix on his left wrist and will be evaluated on a "week-to-week" basis. Surgery is still an option but no timetable for recovery has been established. Meaning, if Deng were to elect for surgery, his season may end as the playoffs start in less than 90 days.
Since Deng has addressed the Chicago media regarding his injury, he's downplayed it saying, "I know it's a bad injury, and it sounds terrible, but I'll be fine" alongside K.C. Johnson's reporting that 2 of Deng's teammates stated Deng has intimated to them, he might play in Sunday's important game at Miami.
Deng is fully aware of the value he has with the Chicago Bulls. By opting out of surgery and vowing to play through a torn ligament on his left wrist in order to help his team to win its first Championship since 1998, Luol Deng will go down as THE most under-appreciated player in the NBA. With a Bulls team already filled with players who exemplify the "we before me" sentiment, Deng playing through injury might resonate further with his teammates more than fellow team captains Rose (toe), Noah (ankle), and Hamilton (groin) who are battling through injuries themselves since Deng is the elder statesman. Also, Deng's been through a lot more crap in Chicago than they have.
Sure Luol Deng must have felt his value was worth a 4th round pick and a box of basketballs but all of his "shortcomings" in his career is in the past as he leads with Derrick Rose to a championship. Torn ligament and all.
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