|Spain are hoping that the high-flying Rudy Fernandez will recover in time for the Olympics|
Spain international Rudy Fernandez is expected to miss the remainder of the NBA season, the Denver Nuggets announced on Thursday.
Fernandez will need to have surgery on his lower back. A date for the operation is to be set in the next days.
The 26-year-old guard/forward has been struggling with a back injury for some time and had already missed 12 games since the shortened NBA regular season started on Christmas Day.
He had stayed out for almost a month before returning on 13 March to appear in four consecutive games, but the injury flared up during Denver's Monday encounter with the Dallas Maverics.
The Spanish international, who stayed on the floor for only nine minutes in that game, underwent further diagnostic tests the following days that revealed the full extent of the problem.
In 31 games with the Nuggets this season, Fernandez averaged 8.6 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 22.9 minutes.
It is not yet known whether the injury will prevent him from competing with Spain at the London Olympics this summer.
The prolific Fernandez has been a core member of the senior Spanish national team ever since he was 19.
He made his debut with ‘La Roja' at the Athens Olympics in 2004 and was on the team that successfully defended their EuroBasket title last summer in Lithuania.
With Spain, Fernandez has conquered one FIBA World Championship gold medal, silver at Eurobasket 2007 and the 2008 Olympics, and two EuroBasket gold medals, in 2009 and 2011.