And another marquee name has dropped out of the 2010 FIBA World Championship due to the concerns of an NBA team: This time, it’s Andrei Kirilenko passing on playing in the international tournament.
Citing a conversation with Utah Jazz brass about the state of his calf muscle injury suffered late in the 2009-10 NBA season, Kirilenko informed Russian-language Sport Express that he would have to “sacrifice” participating in the FIBA Worlds with Team Russia. The forward did state that team executives did allow the final decision to be his, however.
When asked about possible popular backlash to the announcement from Team Russia supporters, Kirilenko was sympathetic, saying “If I were in their place, I would be indignant! I really didn’t like the situation I was in, but I do have obligations.”
This will mark the second straight summer Kirilenko, leader of Russia’s stunning 2007 Eurobasket win, will not play with his national team. Even worse for Team Russia is the news that key players J.R. Holden and Sasha Kaun are also unlikely to play.