Leading scorer Ibrahim Jaaber won't play at the EuroBasket for Bulgaria because of his Muslim faith, the country's basketball federation has revealed.
Jaaber, who is on the books of Lottomatica Roma, averaged 16 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 38 minutes per game for the Bulgarians in their successful qualifying campaign.
The 25-year-old is not allowed to eat or drink between sunrise and sunset for a month during Ramadan (August 21 to September 19), thus disrupting his involvement with the national team workouts and during the EuroBasket, which tips off on September 7.
When Jaaber became Bulgarian last summer, he played in three games before Ramadan but also competed in five others during the Islamic holiday.
Coach Pini Gershon is considering adding Turk Telekom point guard Andre Owens or Cremona playmaker Earl Rowland in the naturalized spot that is allowed by teams.
Owens, 29, spent last season with Red Star Belgrade and the year before that with Pamesa Valencia, but from 2000 to 2007, he was on the books of Bulgarian side Cherno more.
Rowland, 26, was born in Germany and last season was on the books of Telekom Baskets Bonn.
Gershon has concerns about 21-year-old shooting guard Ivan Lilov, who suffered a broken jaw in the first friendly game against Portugal.
The coaching staff is hoping that Lilov, who had perfect season in Bulgarian side Rilski sportist and won the Balkan League in its debut season, will be back for the games in Poland.
Alexander Yanev Georgiev and Hristo Nikolov, meanwhile, have been released from national team duty.
Bulgaria will compete in Group D at the EuroBasket with Turkey, Lithuania and hosts Poland.