Three-time Olympian basketballer Aron Baynes has been ruled out for the remainder of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games for the Boomers after sustaining a neck injury.
The injury was sustained during the Boomers’ 86-83 win against Italy on Wednesday, the 207cm centre undergoing a multitude of tests after being taken to hospital following the game.
It is expected he will recover in the coming weeks but not in time to continue the Olympic competition.
The Phoenix Suns NBA player said he was upset at missing the remainder of the Boomers campaign at Tokyo 2020 but will be watching on as the team continues the quest for gold.
“I am really disappointed that I can’t continue in the Olympics,” said Baynes.
“I along with the rest of the team have been working so hard in our quest for an historic Olympic medal and I am gutted that I can’t complete the journey with the boys’, but I have every confidence that they will get the job done.”
Ian Chesterman, the Australian Olympic Team’s Chef de Mission says the while the loss of Baynes isn’t ideal, the Boomers will still be looking to go deep into Tokyo 2020.
“It’s very sad for Aron but I have been really impressed with the way the Boomers as a group have shown leadership for the whole Australian Olympic Team. They will bounce back from this setback and we wish Aron all the best for a quick recovery”, Chesterman said.
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Boomers head coach Brian Goorjian remained upbeat of the Boomers chances for a medal at this year’s Games, despite Baynes’ absence.
“Aron is a big part of our team and we are all hurting for him, but we have great depth in our squad and I have every confidence the 11 remaining players. We will all stay focused on the task ahead. Unfortunately, injuries can happen but this team is resilient and we will adapt”, Goorjian said.
Patty Mills, captain of the Boomers, shared the same sentiments as his head coach regarding Australia’s resilience to push on without the big man.
“It’s a tough loss for us. His presence on the floor and physical play has been a big part of our identity for so long and that will be missed, but it doesn’t change our focus and how we go about our business and what we have come to achieve,” Mills said.
“We have always spoken about how important each player’s role is, and the impact it can have for the better of our group because of our depth. That doesn’t change. We’ve got Baynsey’s back. We’ll cover for him.
“I have every confidence in this playing group and our focus will not waiver as we strive for that Olympic gold medal.”
In two games across the Olympic competition, Baynes has been in the Boomers starting five on each occasion. In Australia’s 84-67 win over Nigeria, Baynes had four points and five rebounds however against Italy, the centre put up 14 points with seven rebounds and one assist.
Australia has one remaining group game against Germany on July 31, looking to maintain an undefeated run out of the first stage to reach the quarterfinals.