Basketball: Deng in bullish mood as NBA arrives in London

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The Independent Online

Great Britain international Luol Deng believes his injury problems are almost behind him as he goes into tonight's NBA pre-season match between his Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz at London's 02 Arena.

Deng was forced to sit out the European Championships this summer with a stress fracture in his right leg and, while he is not fully fit, he insists the injury will not stop him putting on a show for his home-town fans. "It's not 100 per cent but it's starting to feel better with each practice," Deng said.

"I want to play the whole game if I can but we've got to be smart – it's still pre-season, and also this game is for our team and we've got to prepare ourselves in the right way."

Deng admitted he faces a tough time over the next few weeks, with the injury not likely to clear up for several weeks – although he does not expect to miss any more time. He added: "It still gets sore and I'm told it will be that way for a while, so it's just something that I'm going to have to deal with but, in terms of the injury, the MRIs and X-rays show that it is a lot better."

Deng ,24, has appeared for GB in London before but will relish the chance to play an NBA game in his home country. This game marks the third consecutive year the NBA have included London on their pre-season tour of Europe, and Deng's presence only adds to the fixture's allure.

But while he is the player most fans will be here to see tonight, he is not the only familiar name. Tennis fans would know the father of Deng's team-mate Joakim Noah – French Open winner Yannick.