Spanish basketball star Gasol to miss European Championships

Last Updated: Wed, May 15, 2013 13:10 hrs

Madrid, May 15 (IANS) Spanish basketball star Pau Gasol confirmed Wednesday that he will not be able to form part of the Spanish squad which will defend its European title in Slovenia this September.

The 32-year-old Gasol, who is the most successful Spanish basketball player in history, published a note on his official website to explain his decision, reports Xinhua.

"To all the basketball fans: In order to avoid future problems, May 9, I underwent a simple procedure to debride degenerated tissue of the patellar tendons of my knees non-surgically. After valuing the period of the rehabilitation, which I have already initiated, with my medical team of confidence, I sadly confirm that I won't play in the next European Championship of Slovenia despite wishing that I could," explained Gasol, who added that he hopes to be able form part of the Spanish side which will host the 2014 World Championships.

"My priority is to recover myself thinking in the next season and to be ready, if I'm asked to, for the next challenge with the national team, the World Cup of Spain 2014."

Gasol, who currently plays as a power forward for the L.A. Lakers, made his debut for Spain in August 2001 and since then has helped lead the Spanish team to two European Championships as well as two silver and a bronze medal in the competition, the 2006 World title and silver medals at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic Games.

Spain coach, Juan Antonio Orenga, admitted that he had known before Gasol's official announcement that he would not be able to take part.

"I knew a while ago," confirmed Orenga on Spanish radio. "I speak a lot with Pau and I knew the situation. He is fully implicated with the team and wanted to come, but what we have to do is wish him a speedy recovery so he can be back and help us in the coming years."

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