Spain, already acknowledged as the only nation that can contend with the USA, will miss its longtime best player Pau Gasol in the intensively competitive Eurobasket. Pau Gasol has mentioned that he will have a “procedure” done in the summer. He has missed games in the past NBA season due to nagging injuries.
per FIBA Europe:
Pau Gasol has chosen an unusual, but direct and unequivocal way to communicate to the Spanish public that he will be unavailable to suit up for the national team at the upcoming EuroBasket in Slovenia.
The Los Angeles Lakers center wrote an open letter addressed to “all fans of basketball” that was published late on Tuesday on the official website of the Spanish Federation (feb.es) and confirms that the ultrasonic treatment he was submitted to last week in the USA will not allow him to return to action in time for the big September event.
“Aiming to avoid future problems, I was submitted on 9 May to a simple intervention in order to improve the tissue of the tendons in my knees,” Gasol explained.
“After estimating the time schedule of the rehabilitation process, which has already started, together with a medical team I have full confidence in, I regret to confirm that that I will not be able to participate at the upcoming European championship in Slovenia, that I was very excited about.
“My primary objective now is to recuperate my form with a view to the next season and be prepared, if I am called upon, for the next challenge in line for the national team, at World Cup 2014 in Spain.”
Gasol signs off his statement by ‘wishing the [Spanish] team all the best in Slovenia’.
The soon-to-be 33 years old big man had an NBA season tarnished by a plantar fasciitis problem, that limited him to 49 Regular Season games with Los Angeles and the lowest scoring average (13.7 points per game) in his entire career.
It was believed that following the Lakers’ early exit from the NBA play-offs Gasol would have time to recuperate and return to full fitness before the Spanish national team begins preparations for the EuroBasket in the summer.
The medical tests he underwent after the end of the season however revealed that although the plantar fasciitis had subsided considerably, he had developed tendinosis, which amounts to degeneration of tissue, in his knees.
The eldest of the famous Gasol brothers became a senior Spanish international in 2001 and made a huge impact already in his first major tournament, averaging 17.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game as Spain collected a gold medal at the EuroBasket in Turkey.
In the 11 years that followed he only missed out at EuroBasket 2005 and World Championship 2010, and led the golden generation of Spain to the top of the World Championship podium in 2006, EuroBasket gold medals in 2009 and 2011, and silver medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.
Pau Gasol, along with Dirk Nowitzki and Andrei Kirilenko, are the only players to have won the FIBA Europe Player of the Year award on two occasions.
Spain were drawn in First Round Group C at the EuroBasket, together with Georgia, Poland, Croatia, the Czech Republic and hosts Slovenia.