|With Yaniv Green healthy, Israel know they have an important physical presence in the paint |
Yaniv Green is confident he will be at full speed in time for Israel's EuroBasket campaign.
The Maccabi Tel Aviv center missed all of last year with an injury but has now returned to practice and has been named in Eric Lubeck's preliminary squad to go to Lithuania.
"I'm in good shape and practicing almost every day," said Green.
"The injury is behind me and I hope to get back to game fitness soon."
Green, who led all players with 9.3 rebounds per game at EuroBasket 2007, is optimistic about Israel's fortunes this year.
"People have always said we do not have a chance and we go ahead and perform well anyway," he said.
"This is the magic of the team, and we can do it again. We know who we will play, we are already thinking about the opening game with Germany."
Israel are in Group B alongside Serbia, Italy, France, Latvia and the Germans.
Their first goal, according to coach Eric Lubeck, is simply to progress to the second round.
"We know exactly what we need to do," the coach said.
"The first goal is to reach the top 12. The groups are not easy. Let us take it step by step."
Lubeck admitted he need to wait to see how Green fared in practice, and has Ido Kozikaro on standby if required.
The coach left the veteran out of his initial squad, admitting he preferred to give younger players their chance, but said he had spoken to Kozikaro who had agreed to join the team if Green struggled.
"Ido did not play with us last year and we had a conversation," he said.
"He has served the team for many years. No one can say I do not like Ido. But I made the decision to go with younger players. Ido accepted it.
"One of the agreements I have with Ido is that if we need him at some point, he will come.
"There is a big question mark over Yaniv Green. He does not know and we do not know. He has always played well and helped the team win. He has not missed a tournament since he was 20. We hope that he comes back in good shape, and he has been working since before training started."