|Losing Dejan Musli just days before the U20 European Championship is a huge blow for Serbia, but coach Aleksandar Dzikic did not want to take any risks with the player's health|
Serbia received a huge blow before the U20 European Championship in Bilbao with one of the nation's biggest talents, center Dejan Musli, ruled out of the event because of injury.
Musli won gold at the U18 European Championships in 2009 and was the MVP of the U17 European Championship in 2006 after leading the team to the title.
New coach Aleksandar Dzikic decided to release Musli because of a knee injury.
Dzikic, who was recently put in charge of the team, said: "We didn't want to take any risks with Musli's injured knee.
"He should have been one of our leaders, but despite all our attempts, his recovery didn't go as smoothly as we had expected.
"It will be a big blow for our team, but as the old saying goes, 'you have to go without those who are gone.'"
Another of the promising players in Serbia, sharpshooting guard Petar Jokic, had hoped to travel to Spain with the team but he, too, has been cut.
That leaves Dzikic with 13 players, so one more player will have to be let go as well.
"Jokic worked great during our training camp and his behavior was an example for others," Dzikic said.
"Still, it came down to the toughest decision for a coach, to cut down some players, so Petar was not included on our list of 13 names."
Serbia will face Montenegro, Russia and Slovenia in Group A of the U20 European Championship in Bilbao, with the tournament tipping off on July 14.
Current Serbia U20 squad: Danilo Andjusic (Hemofarm Stada), Milic Blagojevic (Radnicki KG06), Branislav Djekic (Mega Vizura), Filip Djuran (Radnicki Basket), Nemanja Jaramaz (Partizan mts), Milan Milovanovic (FMP), Niksa Nikolic (Mega Vizura), Dusan Ognjenovic (Radnicki Basket), Nemanja Nedovic (Red Star Belgrade), Lazar Radosavljevic (Red Star Belgrade), Nikola Rondovic (Teodo Tivat, Montenegro), Petar Torlak (East Carolina, NCAA) and Nikola Kalinic.