My first question is why on earth are you doing 17 rep deadlifts?
Start on the floor, make sure you're whole body is tight (someone might be able to point out the Ian King article/Q&A where he goes over proper deadlift technique) and pull. When you return to the floor, you can pause, reset and pull again.
The actual pause on the floor is what makes it harder and arguably more effective. You have to overcome the inertia of the weight to get it going again. You're reducing the stretch shortening cycle with the pause on the floor as well, which again forces your muscles to work harder to get that weight moving again. As well, when you pause, you can reset your position and make sure your form is spot on. This will likely reduce the liklihood of injury. Think of it as a set of singles.
But again 17 reps? Nothing over five for me.