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May 17, 2011

Luol Deng


Q. Is this the healthiest you've been since maybe your third year? It seemed two years in a row where you really battled injuries. Is this the healthiest you've been since your third year in the league?
LUOL DENG: No, I was healthy last year. I can't remember how many games I missed. About ten or so. I had a calf injury. Most of the year I was healthy.

Q. (Indiscernible)
LUOL DENG: Honestly, it doesn't change anything. I'm still working hard, still playing hard. I never really worry about it. It's just good to have some (Indiscernible)

Q. When Tom came here, how long did it take you to realize the kind of confidence he had in you and the versatility he saw in you?
LUOL DENG: I think after I spoke to him, I knew right away I was going to be playing (Indiscernible) just from day one we spoke about it. (Indiscernible) I came here just to play basketball. (Indiscernible)

Q. Talk about the difference in your role with the starters versus when you're with the bench. Coach Thibs says he expects a different kind of play. He looks at you as a leader when you're out there with the second unit.
LUOL DENG: When I'm out there with the second unit, when they come in, I just try to be more vocal out there. Just remind them to play with (Indiscernible) When we have the lead, I try to tell them we have to hold the lead or extend the lead. That's our job. When we're down, we just try to get back before the starters come in.

Q. (Indiscernible)
LUOL DENG: I think as the season went on, I got better at it. I wasn't really as vocal as I am now at the start of the season. But as the season went on, I just -- guys are listening to me. It's something -- a lot of times I want to win the game so bad, I'm saying stuff to guys they already know. Just kind of overstating it. (Indiscernible).

Q. You talked about being in the Sudan when "The Decision" was made. How long did it take you to hear about LeBron's decision? Was it a few days before you heard?
LUOL DENG: Honestly, I don't know what length of time. I was in Kenya. Finally when I got to Sudan, somebody told me. And I called some people and made sure. I don't know exactly when it was.

Q. Do you think getting such a different perspective in the off season, does that help you when you come back -- obviously come back with a totally fresh mind to basketball. Do you think that helps your game?
LUOL DENG: To life. To life. I think the trip I took really helped me. I haven't been in a long time. I'm going back there just to put everything in perspective.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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