IZMIR (FIBA World Championship) – Canada have endured a tough final couple of weeks of preparations for the FIBA World Championship with injuries to key men giving coach Leo Rautins some hard decisions to make.
Rautins’ son, Andy, has been out of action since knocking knees with a French opponent during Canada’s last home friendly.
Jermaine Bucknor has an ankle problem and Aaron Doornecamp is also hurting after getting banged up in Sunday’s 84-53 drubbing by Turkey in the Efes Pilsen World Cup.
Canada, lost all three of their games in the tournament, also falling to Argentina 79-64 on Saturday and to Lebanon on Monday, 88-76.
“It’s been a grind,’’ Rautins said.
“Playing six games in nine days, including a total of about 24 hours of travel on the off days and practice, and it’s not easy.”
Canada had also hoped to naturalize former Toronto Raptor and Canada homeowner Matt Bonner of the San Antonio Spurs in time for the FIBA World Championship but were unsuccessful.
Bonner could still play for Canada in the future.
Lebanon is the team they face in their Group D opener on Saturday in Izmir, and their three most potent players sent out a loud message to Canada in the Efes Pilsen World Cup clash, with Jackson Vroman scoring 17 points, Matthew Freije 16 and Fadi El Khatib 15.
“We just tried to get through the Lebanon game with no more injuries, gather information and try to get healthy and prepare for our next meeting when it counts,” Rautins said.
Olu Famutimi had 20 points for Canada in that game.
Jermaine Anderson, the Canada point guard who has grown in stature the past couple of seasons, especially with important performances at the 2009 FIBA Americas Championship in Puerto Rico, is trying to remain upbeat.
"So far we have played nine games.
“Unfortunately, there are players in the team who have some injuries. We hope they will recover. We want to work more as a team in the Championship so we are ready when we meet Lebanon again."