In a big blow for the Australian Boomers, starting center Aron Baynes has been ruled out for the remainder of the Olympic Games with a neck injury, the Australian Olympic Team announced today.
Baynes suffered the injury in Australia's game against Italy on Wednesday, where he starred with 14 points, seven rebounds in the 86-83 win.
"I, along with the rest of the team, have been working so hard in our quest for a historic Olympic medal and I am gutted that I can't complete the journey with the boys," Baynes said.
"But I have every confidence that they will get the job done."
Baynes was taken to hospital, undergoing a series of tests and is expected to recover in the coming weeks.
"It's a tough loss for us. His presence on the floor and physical play has been a big part of our identity for so long and that will be missed, but it doesn't change our focus and how we go about our business and what we have come to achieve," Boomers star Patty Mills said.
"We have always spoken about how important each player's role is, and the impact it can have for the better of our group because of our depth. That doesn't change. We've got Baynsey's back. We'll cover for him.
"I have every confidence in this playing group and our focus will not waiver as we strive for that Olympic gold medal."
The Boomers are 2-0 in Tokyo and have already sealed their spot in the quarter-finals and will take on Germany on Saturday in their final pool game.
Despite the loss of Baynes, the Aussies are in a good position in their quest for a medal, with the likes of Jock Landale, Duop Reath and Nick Kay set to step up and fill those minutes in the front court.
"Aron is a big part of our team and we are all hurting for him, but we have great depth in our squad and I have every confidence in the 11 remaining players," head coach Brian Goorjian said.
"We will all stay focused on the task ahead. "Unfortunately, injuries can happen but this team is resilient and we will adapt."
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