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updated: 1/9/2014 6:44 PM

Deng says he's not bitter about spinal tap issue

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  • New Cleveland Cavaliers forward Luol Deng laughs as he meets reporters after practice at the NBA team's facility in Independence, Ohio Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. Deng was traded to the Cavaliers from the Chicago Bulls for Andrew Bynum and future draft considerations. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

      New Cleveland Cavaliers forward Luol Deng laughs as he meets reporters after practice at the NBA team's facility in Independence, Ohio Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. Deng was traded to the Cavaliers from the Chicago Bulls for Andrew Bynum and future draft considerations. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

 
 

When speaking to reporters in Cleveland on Wednesday, Luol Deng said there were no hard feelings toward the Bulls regarding the botched spinal tap that knocked him out of the playoffs last year.

Deng became ill before Game 6 of the first-round series against Brooklyn and doctors performed a spinal tap to rule out meningitis. Deng didn't have the disease, fortunately, but his body leaked spinal fluid and he wasn't able to play basketball until well into the summer.

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"I know a lot of people keep bringing that up," Deng said. "I was frustrated with the whole process, but ... I wasn't bitter. I didn't hold anything against anybody."

A day earlier, Bulls vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said he apologized to Deng for the ordeal.

"We did not handle that as well as we could have and should have," Paxson said. "We didn't understand the gravity of it in that moment. That's on us. Over the summer, we talked to both Lu and (agent) Herb (Rudoy) and apologized. That's something we dropped the ball on and hopefully learned from."

Asked to elaborate, Paxson said the spinal tap was necessary, because Deng showed symptoms of meningitis. But the team should have monitored Deng's well-being more closely in the days following the procedure.

Boozer ready to play:

Carlos Boozer went through the full practice Thursday. So barring a setback, he should be back on the floor for Friday's game at Milwaukee. He missed the previous two contests because of a sore right knee.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau also reported that Mike Dunleavy felt no lingering effects from the hyperextended right elbow he suffered during Tuesday's win over Phoenix. Dunleavy returned to the game after it happened.

Joakim Noah was on the floor working out Thursday, even though he was feeling under the weather, according to Thibodeau. Noah has yet to speak to the media since the Deng trade.

Thibs talks about Deng:

Coach Tom Thibodeau offered this message to former Bull Luol Deng, now playing for Cleveland, and his team on Thursday.

"On a personal level, you couldn't ask for anything more from a player or a person. He's terrific," Thibodeau said of Deng. "We'll remain friends for a long time and I appreciated everything he gave to our team. I appreciated the type of person that he is. That's not going to change. He just happens to play for another team now. But we have to move on. The friendship won't change.

"I like the way we've has responded to every challenge this year. We've got to keep building, keep our concentration on improvement and chase excellence. If everyone does that, we'll be fine."

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