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Page last updated at 11:37 GMT, Friday, 29 August 2008 12:37 UK

GB receive blow over Deng hopes

Luol Deng
Deng recently re-signed with the Bulls in the NBA

Great Britain's hopes of playing NBA star Luol Deng in their upcoming European Championship qualifying games have been dealt a blow.

The 23-year-old Chicago Bulls forward has been refused insurance cover while on international duty.

GB are now looking at the possibility of arranging their own insurance for the player, who recently signed a 40m deal with the Bulls.

Fellow NBA star Ben Gordon is already out while he holds contract talks.

Gordon, who has spent the last four seasons with the Bulls, has ruled himself out of selection for a new-look Britain side as the 25-year-old guard attempts to sort out his NBA future.


GB officials are desperate for Deng to play as they face games against Israel, Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Czech Republic in their bid to make the Euro finals in Poland next summer.

The problem with Deng's NBA insurance is thought to centre on scans of a back injury he suffered last season with Chicago.

Although the injury was not too serious the NBA insurance agents are seemingly worried enough to block cover while Deng is on GB duty.

And GB basketball performance director Chris Spice remains optimistic a way can an be found around the insurance problem.

"The issue for us is to seek alternative insurance, which is what we're doing right now," said Spicer.

"We're very hopeful that will happen - all of our people and all of Luol's people are working for the same outcome."

Last summer, Deng averaged 24.4 points per game in Great Britain's successful Division B qualifying campaign.

GB officials reportedly paid about 35,000 to insure Deng for the games.

Deng is on his way back to London before flying on to Chicago.

see also
New-look GB enjoy winning start
13 Aug 08 |  Basketball
Deng believes Britain can qualify
10 Aug 08 |  Basketball
Gordon missing from Britain squad
12 Aug 08 |  Basketball
Deng agrees 40m Chicago contract
30 Jul 08 |  Basketball
NBA duo given GB training places
05 Jun 08 |  Basketball

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