Anderson Varejao has been ruled out of the 2016 Rio Olympics. The Golden State Warriors center won’t be suiting up for the Brazilian men’s basketball team due to a back injury he sustained during training.
Varejao is the second Brazilian big man who has bowed out of the Summer Games. Atlanta Hawks center Tiago Splitter, who had nagging hip issues all season long, will be spending the remainder of the summer recovering from a successful hip operation.
ESPN’s Marc Stein initially reported that Varejao might miss the prestigious international tournament because of a back injury. Several news sources have since confirmed the report.
According to USA Today, Varejao felt major discomfort on his back during a recent practice session with Team Brazil. He was then brought to California to be checked by spine expert Dr. Robert Watkins. Tests revealed that the twelve-year NBA veteran had a herniated disc in his lower back.
In a press statement on Wednesday, the Warriors announced that Varejao will not recover in time for 2016 Rio Olympics. On the bright side, he is expected to be healthy before the start of 2016-17 season.
CBS Sports noted that Varejao has been replaced by Chicago Bulls sophomore Cristiano Felício on the Brazilian roster. Joining Felicio in the front court are Rafael Hettsheimeir, Augusto Lima and Houston Rockets center Nenê.
Age and attrition has eroded Varejao’s mobility. However, his heart and tenacity for the game still remains. He is also the quintessential locker room guy. These attributes make him an integral part of Team Brazil.
In his absence, key players such as Nenê, Leandro Barbosa and Marcelo Huertas will have to step up for the Cariocas. Brazil is in Group B of the 2016 Men’s Olympic Basketball Tournament. The host nation will have preliminary round matchups against Argentina, Spain, Croatia, Nigeria and Lithuania.
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