Giannis Antetokounmpo ruled out of FIBA World Cup

Still recovering from a recent knee surgery, Giannis Antetokounmpo has been ruled out of the FIBA World Cup. Getty Images (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Giannis Antetokounmpo will not be seeing action in the FIBA World Cup.

Antetokounmpo himself confirmed on Friday night that he has been ruled out for Greece's campaign in the said event.

He clarified that he really wanted to join the Greeks in their FIBA World Cup stint but had to beg off due to injury concerns.

"Everyone knows my passion and love for my National Team has and never will change. Since the conclusion of my NBA season I have been pushing my body to the limits to be the player I need to be to help our team achieve the goals we set. But after months of work and multiple meetings with medical staff it is clear that i am not ready to compete in the level that I need to be to participate in the World Cup," Antetokounmpo said in a statement.

The Milwaukee Bucks superstar underwent what was described as a "cleaning procedure" in his knee, although it was apparent that it was a surgery to treat an old injury.

The surgery, coupled by a back injury he suffered in their playoff series against the Miami Heat, made Antetokounmpo questionable for the World Cup.

There was hope that he might make the team after all after he photos of him working out with his kids last week.

However, with the timeline before he can practice again not as short as he thought, Antetokounmpo had no other resort but to beg off.

"This was not a choice but my only option in ensuring I get back to the level of basketball I have worked so hard to achieve so far in my career. I am extremely disappointed in this outcome but this was a decision made with the medical staff," he further said.

However, Antetokounmpo vowed that he will commit to the Greek team if he gets called up again to the pool, especially in the Paris Olympics should they qualify.

"I’m going to continue to push myself to be ready for the next time my name is called. My personal, and our ultimate team goal is to qualify for the 2024 Olympics games and it will be an honor to represent my National Team next year," he vowed.

Greece must finish among the two best European teams in the FIBA World Cup to qualify for the Paris Olympics or third if France, the host country for next year's Olympic meet, makes it to the Top 2 for Europe.

Greece is grouped with USA, Jordan, and New Zealand in Group C in the first round of the FIBA World Cup at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

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