In the run up to any major sporting event, injury news dominates the media coverage and there are a number of players who are facing up to missing out on the leading tournament this summer.
Serbia’s hopes of a medal in Rio this summer have been dealt a huge blow with Nemanja Bjelica ruling himself out of the Olympic Games this summer. The 28 year old was absent when Serbia qualified from the FIBA Olympic QualifyingTournament on home soil but he had to bounce back quickly for the major event this summer. The player has been suffering from an inflamed nerve but he has been told he needs more time to bounce back from the injury.
It is a blow for the team and the player, who has been involved with the Serbian national team every summer for the past 7 years. There is a great deal of pressure on international teams and players in the basketball world, and you can see why Bjelica is unwilling to risk this injury. This is news that will be welcomed by fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves but Serbian fans hoping for success in Brazil this summer will have to accept that their chances will be more limited now.
Bjelica has been a key player for Serbia
Bjelica was a star man when Serbia made their way through to the EuroBasket 2009 Final and he was influential in their performance in the 2015 EuroBasket event.
The consistency shown by Serbia in recent times is indicated in the fact that they are listed as the fourth favourites for the tournament. If you still think that Serbia can impact on the tournament without Bjelica, you can find them available at odds of 23.00. It is not as though Serbia don’t have a squad of great players and Nikola Jokic is likely to be a big player for them this summer. The player has NBA experience with the Denver Nuggets and in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade, Jokic was named as the MVP for the tournament.
Serbia are involved in Group A of the tournament which means that they will face France, USA, China, Australia and Venezuela in Rio.
Absence of Donatas Motiejunas will be a loss for Lithuania
Another nation who will be without a key player is Lithuania as they cannot call on Donatas Motiejunas this summer in Rio. This is a double blow for the player who was unable to play in the 2015 EuroBasket due to injury. The player hopes to play in the NBA in the forthcoming season but he hasn’t signed a contract with any team yet. This has probably impacted on his decision to be available for training camps and ensuring that teams are keen to take a chance on him.
There are still some key players available for Lithuania in Brazil with Mindaugas Kuzminskas being keen to show New York Knicks fans what he can offer to them in the new season. Jonas Valanciunas has been a good player for Toronto Raptors and Jonas Maciulis will be hoping to bring his record of success with Real Madrid to Brazil for the Olympic Games.
Lithuania are currently listed at odds of 36.00 to take the Gold medal in Brazil this summer. Lithuania are involved in Group B of the tournament which means that they will face Argentina, Spain, Brazil, Croatia and Nigeria in Rio.