Shabazz Napier on paternity leave

2021-12-13T13:43:10+00:00 2021-12-13T13:47:00+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

13/Dec/21 13:43

Stuck in the packed injury list of Zenit Saint Petersburg, Shabazz Napier returns to the USA and welcomes his son to the world

By Johnny Askounis/

Shabazz Napier has become a father, Zenit Saint Petersburg general manager Alexander Tserkovny confirmed while detailing the current situation at the Russian club.

Napier, 30, has yet to debut with his new team. Following six years in the NBA and sitting out the 2021-22 season, he penned a one-year contract with Zenit in July but remains out indefinitely with a right ankle injury suffered during the preseason. He is set to soon return to Saint Petersburg after the paternity leave and get back to work aiming to recover under the guidance of the Zenit medical staff.

Besides the former Connecticut standout, plenty more injuries are piling up for the team coached by Xavi Pascual. Among the sidelined players, Dmitry Kulagin picked up a right foot injury playing for Russia in the 2023 FIBA World Cup European Qualifiers during the recent FIBA international window and has been held out to limit the risk of a more serious injury, noted Tserkovny.

Jordan Loyd suffered a hip injury late in the Turkish Airlines Regular Season Round 14 visit at Fenerbahce Beko last Thursday. Billy Baron was hurt in practice on Saturday, one day before the VTB United League Regular Season clash opposite Nizhny Novgorod. Both are considered questionable to travel to France for the EuroLeague double-game week featuring fixtures against LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne and AS Monaco, Wednesday and Friday, respectively.

In addition, backup guard Denis Zakharov will miss two to three weeks with a thigh injury.

Zenit carrying an 8-6 record is currently tied with UNICS Kazan in sixth place of the EuroLeague standings. Six wins in the first seven VTB games of the season lands the team third behind UNICS (8-1) and Avtodor Saratov (7-1).