|07 May 2013|
|An ACL injury has dealt the Netherlands' summer plans a major blow|
The Netherlands will have to fight the battle of the 1st Qualification Round for EuroBasket 2015 in the summer without their star player Henk Norel.
The 2.14m CAI Zaragoza center took a knock on his right knee an injury during the second quarter of the Spanish Liga Endesa game with Manresa on Saturday.
The Dutch big man fell on the floor and laid there for a while holding his knee in evident pain, before leaving the court on a stretcher.
On Monday, and following medical tests, his club announced that he had suffered a partial rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his knee.
Norel is expected at this point to be out of action for approximately six months and of course will miss out on both the Spanish league play-offs with Zaragoza as well as on the Netherlands' 1st Qualification Round campaign, which starts in August.
A more precise prediction on the rehabilitation time required will be made after the player decides between the two options the doctors have presented him with, and chooses to either undergo surgery or follow conservative treatment.
The 25-year-old Dutchman, who moved to Spain at the age of 18 to join Joventut Badalona, had been having arguably the best season of his career this year.
He averaged 13.3 points, 6 rebounds and 0.7 blocks-per-encounter, with an average efficiency rating of 16 in the 25 games he played for Zaragoza, which are poised to finish in a club-best sixth place in the Regular Season.
Norel was instrumental for the Netherlands last summer, during their qualification campaign for EuroBasket 2013, as he led the team in scoring with 17 points-per-game and also contributed 7.3 rebounds and one assist-per-encounter.
The Dutch finished in fourth place in Group D with a 2-6 record, as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and Latvia clinched the top three spots and punched their ticket to the big event in Slovenia.
"Thanks for this season @henknorel, I have enjoyed it so much with you on the court, get well soon Mr Hook," Belgian international Sam Van Rossom, who is Norel's team-mate, tweeted.
The Netherlands were drawn in Group B of the 1st Qualification Round for EuroBasket 2015, together with Estonia and Portugal.
The 1st Qualification Round tips off on 1 August and the winner earns a direct berth at EuroBasket 2015.