Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo (right) got injured in the opener of the Eastern Conferenceshowdown against Miami. —AFP

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo (right) got injured in the opener of the Eastern Conference
showdown against Miami. —AFP

The Fiba (International Basketball Federation) World Cup that the country will be cohosting could take another hit in terms of star power.

After the United States bared a pool marked by the absence of its top-shelf stars, another certified NBA crowd-drawer is in danger of missing the global showcase after Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo had surgery on his left knee, the team confirmed on Wednesday.

The surgery left the basketball star’s participation for Greece in August’s World Cup in doubt.

“He had a routine surgery on his left knee and it went great,” Bucks head coach Adrian Griffin said on Wednesday.

“Everything went as planned and we expect him back ready to go in training camp,” he added.

The Bucks are expected to begin their camp in early- to mid-September with the World Cup to start on Aug. 25 and running until Sept. 10.

Earlier, French teen star and San Antonio Spurs overall top pick Victor Wembanyama also announced that he will not join France in the tournament.

Even Gilas Pilipinas wasn’t spared by the injury bug.

Scottie Thompson, the Barangay Ginebra guard who is among the more popular names in the national pool, is nursing a metacarpal fracture on his right hand.

Thompson is currently with Gilas Pilipinas in Kaunas, Lithuania, where the team played a series of friendly matches.

Scottie Thompson is one of the fan favorites in the Gilas Pilipinasroster. —FIBA.BASKETBALL PHOTO

Scottie Thompson is one of the fan favorites in the Gilas Pilipinas roster. —FIBA.BASKETBALL PHOTO

Scottie injures hand

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas on Thursday bared the status of the reigning Philippine Basketball Association Most Valuable Player (MVP).

“Scottie Thompson suffered a metacarpal fracture during practice here in Kaunas, Lithuania. Thompson was immediately brought to the 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 timeline of his recovery when the team returns to Manila.

Thompson has more than a month to recover before the opener of the World Cup, where the Philippines is bunched in Group A with Angola, the Dominican Republic and Italy.

Thompson saw action in six games in the Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers, where he averaged 6.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per match.

Greece in trouble

The Athletic cited a league source as saying that Antetokounmpo’s availability for Greece is “in question” after what it described as surgery to “clean up loose cartilage in his left knee.”

The two-time NBA MVP suffered a back injury during Game 1 of the Bucks’ first-round playoff against the Miami Heat and did not return until Game 4. The Bucks, the No. 1 seed in the East, were upset in five by Miami in the best-of-seven series.

The World Cup will be also held in Japan and Indonesia, but all teams that make it out of the group stage will fly to Manila for the knockout phase.

Greece has been drawn in Group C with the United States, New Zealand and Jordan.

Losing Antetokounmpo would be a huge blow to Greece’s hopes in the tournament.

He was top scorer in last year’s EuroBasket tournament, averaging 29.3 points although his team went out in the round-of-16 to the Czech Republic.

Antetokounmpo was part of the Greece team at the 2019 World Cup, which failed to get 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.


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