|16 August 2009|
Nicolas Batum has flown to the United States to have his problematic shoulder examined by his NBA club, the Portland Trail Blazers.
The 20-year-old was held out of training following Les Bleus' recent win over Finland for doctors to look at his shoulder after he experienced some discomfort but he was able to play on Friday night in France's decisive 81-61 win over the Italians which clinched top spot in the Additional Qualifying Round Group B.
Batum didn't appear to have any problems at all as he scored 18 points and pulled down eight rebounds, continuing an excellent summer for the youngster who started most of last season as a rookie with Portland.
He is averaging 17.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game for France in the Additional Qualifying Round.
A member of the French national team's medical staff, Fabrice Gautier, accompanied Batum to Portland.
"If Tony (Parker) has returned, I hope too that I will return as soon as possible," Batum said.
Parker missed France's first game in Italy after being forced to return to the United States for the San Antonio Spurs to look at his ankle injury.
He flew back to Europe and played in the wins over Finland and Italy.
Batum added that Portland should look at video highlights of Friday's game if they are concerned about his health.
France coach Vincent Collet is desperate for Batum to rejoin Les Bleus quickly.
"When we heard the news late Thursday night (that Portland wanted Batum to exam him) I was a little stunned," Collet said.
"When he came out two minutes from the end (against Italy), I told him: ‘Come back soon!" He was hopeful. We see that he is quite capable of playing. We will give them the DVD of the Italy game to (show Portland) to encourage them to let him return."