Serbian national basketball team is on Kopaonik, mountain in Serbia, where all players are preparing for upcoming FIBA 2017 European Championship (EuroBasket) that take place in four countries: Turkey, Romania, Israel and Finland. Like all years before, problems with injuries are part of the preparation period, so player Marko Simonović had to get back to Belgrade due to one.
“Simonović complained about the pain in his right hand and his thumb, so he had to leave training camp on Kopaonik and had to come back to Belgrade with medical team for further examinations. The first step was immobilization of the thumb, so now doctors are doing some more examination in order to figure out if he will be able to join the team again or not. When all examinations are completed and when doctors make diagnosis, further treatment will be decided”, it is written on the official site of Serbian Basketball Federation.
While there is no official confirmation yet, it is expected that Serbian small forward won’t be able to help his team in Turkey, where they will be playing first phase and where final games will be played.
Marko Simonović will most likely skip EuroBasket 2017, in order to be ready for the upcoming season in his new club, Russian Zenit after he played excellent season in Serbian team Red Star. Last two season, Serbian small forward was a member of Red Star, Belgrade team and in season 2016-2017 he had an important role in the team. He was their best shooter with 12.6 points per game.
Besides Red Star, Marko was also played in Élan Béarnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez (France), Berlin (Germany), Budućnost Podgorica (Montenegro), Oostende (Belgium) and also three more teams from Serbia: Hemofarm, Ergonom and Lavovi 063.
With national team, Simonović won silver medals in FIBA World Championship 2014 in Spain and Olympic Games 2016 in Brazil. Also, he was the member of national team during Eurobasket 2015.
If confirmation that Simonović won’t be able to compete for his place in the team for upcoming championship, coach Aleksandar Đorđević will have 16 players during preparation period. From those 16 player, two are small forwards, Vladimir Lučić and Nikola Kalinić, who can (also like Simonović) play as power forwards.
This summer, if Marko Simonović will skip preparation period and eventually European Championship (EuroBasket), he will be second player who have to say no to national team due to injury. First one was Nemanja Bjelica, member of Minnesota Timberwolves of the National Basketball Association (NBA), due to injury of his left foot.
Participation in Serbian national team was refused by Nikola Jokić, in order for him to be prepared for next NBA season, while Nikola Milutinov, member of Greek basketball team Olympiacos, agreed with coach Sale Đorđević about missing this summer activities with Serbian team.
FIBA 2017 European championship is played in four country (Turkey, Romania, Israel and Finland) and coach Đorđević’s team is in group D with host Turkey and teams from Great Britain, Russia, Latvia and Belgium.
The others participants at EuroBasket 2017 are: Poland, Greece, France, Finland, Iceland, Slovenia (group A), Ukraine, Israel, Lithuania, Georgia, Italy, Germany (group B), Croatia, Czech Republic, Spain, Montenegro, Romania and Hungary (group C).