The FIBA (International Basketball Federation) World Cup that the country will co-host could take another hit in terms of star power.
After the United States discovered a group marked by the absence of its top-tier stars, another certified NBA attraction is in danger of missing out on the global showcase after Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo underwent a surgery on his left knee, the team confirmed Wednesday. .
The surgery left the basketball star’s participation with Greece in the World Cup in August in doubt.
“He had routine surgery on his left knee and it went very well,” Bucks head coach Adrian Griffin said Wednesday.
“Everything went according to plan and we expect him to return ready for training camp,” he added.
The Bucks are expected to start their camp in early to mid-September with the World Cup starting on August 25 and running through September 10.
Earlier, French teen star and first overall pick for the San Antonio Spurs, Victor Wembanyama, also announced that he will not join France in the tournament.
Even Gilas Pilipinas was not spared from the injury problem.
Scottie Thompson, the Barangay Ginebra guard who is among the hottest names in the national group, has a fractured metacarpal in his right hand.
Thompson is currently with Gilas Pilipinas in Kaunas, Lithuania, where the team played a series of friendly matches.
Scottie hurts her hand
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas on Thursday revealed the status of the current Philippine Basketball Association Most Valuable Player (MVP).
“Scottie Thompson suffered a broken metacarpal during practice here in Kaunas, Lithuania. Thompson was immediately taken to hospital for an X-ray where the fracture was confirmed,” the federation wrote.
The federation did not discuss Thompson’s availability for the World Cup, but said the 29-year-old guard will consult a specialist to determine the timetable for his recovery when the team returns to Manila.
Thompson has more than a month to recover before the World Cup opener, where the Philippines is drawn in Group A with Angola, the Dominican Republic and Italy.
Thompson saw action in six games at the Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers, where he averaged 6.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game.
Greece in trouble
The Athletic quoted a league source as saying Antetokounmpo’s availability for Greece is “in doubt” after what it described as surgery to “clean loose cartilage in his left knee.”
The two-time NBA MVP suffered a back injury during Game 1 of the Bucks’ first-round playoffs against the Miami Heat and did not return until Game 4. The Bucks, the No. 1 seed in the East, were defeated in five by Miami in the best-of-seven series.
The World Cup will also take place in Japan and Indonesia, but all teams that make it past the group stage will fly to Manila for the knockout stage.
Greece has been drawn in Group C with the United States, New Zealand and Jordan.
Losing Antetokounmpo would be a major blow to Greece’s tournament hopes.
He was the top scorer in last year’s EuroBasket tournament, averaging 29.3 points even though his team lost in the round of 16 to the Czech Republic.
Antetokounmpo was part of the Greece team at the 2019 World Cup in Russia, which failed to make it out of the group stage.
The 28-year-old’s older brother and Bucks teammate Thanasis is also part of the Greece squad along with his younger brother, Kostas, who plays for Greek club Panathinaikos.
—REPORTING BY LANCE AGCAOILI AND AFP
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer and over 70 other titles, share up to 5 devices, listen to the news, download from 4am and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.