By Antonis Stroggylakis/ email@example.com
Milos Teodosic and Nikola Jokic (Serbia). Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece) and Danilo Gallinari (Italy). Ersan Ilyasova (Turkey). Sergio Llull, Rudy Fernandez (Spain), Rudy Gobert and Nicolas Batum (France). These are just of some of the big names in a list of players that won’t step on the floors of the European Championship. They could all be potential candidates for All-Tournament honors but their teams will have to cope without their enormous talent.
Georgia captain Zaza Pachulia hopes that he won’t be included in the above list and that he’ll shine via his participation in the tournament and not his absence.
The 2017 NBA champion sustained an ankle injury during a prep game vs Czech Republic in Tbilisi and hasn’t played ever since. Pachulia revealed the exact status of his injury and rehabilitation process to Eurohoops, expressing his optimism that he will be able to check in at full strength for the EuroBasket, that is kicks off in less than a week from now.
– How is your rehabilitation progressing Zaza?
“It’s a work in progress. We’re getting beter and better. The trainers are doing a great job taking care of me. Every day I’m getting better and better. We’re doing some good treatements. It’s obviously a process. The good thing is that there is that progress every day. I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to fully rehabilitate and be able to fully practice. But at least we are in the right direction. The good thing is that we have about a week left for the premiere of the EuroBasket. So I’m hoping to be able to make a couple of practices before the EuroBasket and then we’ll see”
– You are hopeful that you will be able to play in the EuroBasket?
“Absolutely. That’s the plan, that’s my goal. But health is very important obviously. Especially when you talk about ankle. The doctors are paying much attention to it. The Golden State Warriors doctors are also following the situation of course. Obviously, we’re not going to hurt myself. You have to be very smart basically to see where you are and see how much you can do.
At the end of the day, it’s a no brainer that I want to help my team and I want to play in the EuroBasket. But at the same time you have be smart about it. There’s a long season waiting with a lot of games. And we are talking about the Warriors, the championship team, we shouldn’t forget that. I hope that everybody will be on the same page. We all wish that I will be able to play. I have a reputation in Georgia and they know how much I love my country and the pride I have when I represent my national team team. This EuroBasket might be probably be my last one. But the career goes on and regardless if I play in the EuroBasket or not, I’ll still be going to represent my country in the big stage of the NBA.”
– What have you heard back from the Warriors?
“I’ve been in touch with the Warriors daily and giving them updates.What kind of rehabs we are doing and how my ankle feels before the practice, after the practice. All the time. I’ve been giving them all informations regarding my rehabilitation, they know everything of course. down to the last detail.”
– If you could estimate your possibilities of participating in the EuroBasket what percentage would you give?
“Cant’ say for sure honestly. This injury is based on day-to-day reactions. This morning I had the best workout since I got injured. I did the most things. It depends how I’m going to react each day. If it continues to keep progressing well and not make a step back, most likely I’ll play. But…. if I feel some pain after one of the work-outs and I feel worse, then obviously we’ll shut it down. I’m living the situation every day and every moment seeing how we go.”
Stay tuned with Eurohoops.net for an extended interview with Zaza Pachulia coming soon.