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Luol Deng says Derrick Rose is doing all he can to return

Luol Deng Andre Iguodala

Luol Deng, Andre Iguodala

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Updated: March 17, 2013 6:48PM

HOUSTON — Luol Deng worries about Derrick Rose being misunderstood. Deng used his platform during All-Star Weekend to make sure his teammate’s message is clear.

When Rose said this week that he wouldn’t mind not coming back this season, it wasn’t because he doesn’t want to return as soon as possible, Deng said. Deng also said Rose is doing everything he can to get his surgically repaired left knee into playing shape.

“I want fans to understand that this guy wants to play more than anyone,” Deng said. “He wants to play more than you, and he wants to play more than the fans. He’s working hard. He’s in the gym before everyone. When everyone is leaving, he’s still taking care of his knee. He really wants to come back and be better than he was.”

When or if Rose returns this season will be the dominant theme of the second half for the Bulls. When Rose does make the decision, Deng said it won’t be only with himself in mind.

“Because of what he has done and the kind of person he is, people have to trust the decisions he makes,” Deng said. “He’s going to make the best decision for him and the best decision for the team.”

Deng said Rose should base his decision solely on how he feels.

“I keep telling him he shouldn’t play until he feels 100 percent,” Deng said. “He really shouldn’t, just for the future. The decision shouldn’t be on how the team is doing but how he feels.”

Wrist non-issue

The torn ligament in Deng’s left wrist was major news at the end of last season but has generated zero headlines this year.

It’s a satisfying development for Deng, especially given the angst surrounding his decision to compete in the Olympics last summer rather than undergo surgery.

“People say a lot of things sometimes without thinking about the actual person going through it,” Deng said. “It’s very easy to stand from afar and say he shouldn’t do this and he should do that.

“I felt like I could play. I felt like the pain was better, the wrist was improving and every decision I made I knew was the best decision for me and the team. I wouldn’t do anything where I think I’m going to hurt myself or jeopardize the team.

‘‘I’m just glad that I was able to play good enough to put the wrist talk behind me because for a while, no matter what I did, it was about my wrist. If I had a bad game, it was because of my wrist. It was not. I just played bad. It happens.”

Deng said he feels a twinge of pain now and then, but it doesn’t prevent him from doing whatever he wants on the court.

“I’ll talk to the doctors more about it, and we’ll see what route we take,” he said when asked if he’ll undergo surgery this offseason.

Out of control

Chicago has become so synonymous with gun violence that Joakim Noah was asked what steps should be taken to curb it.

“Gun crime is out of control,” Noah said. “Chicago is a great place. I love Chicago. I consider it my second home, but we obviously have some serious issues. Something has to change. We have to do our best to help these kids.

‘‘There’s obviously a huge gang culture where a lot of these kids feel like it’s hopeless. Not just athletes, but people in power, we all have to come together and make things happen. It’s important to give these kids activities and things to do after school and as much positive reinforcement as we can because too many kids are dying right now.”

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