New York Knicks forward Andrea Bargnani may not suit up for Italy at EuroBasket 2013 due to a respiratory infection, according to Italian basketball writer Andrea Barocci.
Bargnani will not play in Italy's game against Georgia on Wednesday in the Trentino Basket Cup, and the big man is also expected to miss upcoming games against Israel and Poland. It's unclear just how long it will take for Bargnani to recover from his illness, and there remains an outside chance that he doesn't play in the EuroBasket, which begins Sept. 4.
With Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari already out due to a torn ACL, Bargnani's illness represents another setback for coach Simone Pianigiani, who expressed his frustration in an interview on the official EuroBasket 2013 website:
"The absence of Andrea Bargnani because of this fever is one more problem in our preparations," Italy coach Simone Pianigiani said.
"It disrupts our technical process by not allowing us to make use of options that only a center with the characteristics of 'il Mago' [Bargnani] can give us.
"We are a bit disappointed and a bit angry, but at the same time the positive spirit that we have constructed on the court during training camp will have to become more concrete in Trento with a good attitude."
Bargnani was excellent in EuroBasket 2011, averaging 22.8 points and 7.4 rebounds in five games. He shot 46.6 percent overall and 35.0 percent from three-point land.
While this illness will affect Bargnani's time with Italy this summer, it certainly shouldn't be an issue once NBA training camp rolls around. The trade for Bargnani was the Knicks' big offseason "splash," and the former No. 1 overall pick is hoping a change of scenery will help resurrect his NBA career.