|27 May 2013|
|Ali Traore has struggled with a knee injury lately and decided to not suit up for France at the EuroBasket |
France head coach Vincent Collet did no come up with the twitter hash-tag 'where are the pivots?' (#oùsontlespivots?) but this could very well be the big question in his mind as he sees options at the five-spot diminish quickly.
Ali Traore became on Sunday night the latest center to rule himself out of the French national team that will play at EuroBasket 2013, and he did it publicly, in response to a tweet by a French journalist who asked if he would pull out and used the 'oùsontlespivots' hash-tag.
"[It's a] very difficult decision but I think it's the right one," Traore replied, effectively confirming his absence from the big event in September in Slovenia.
The 28-year-old French big man picked up an injury in his right knee last month and missed the final games in the season of his current club, ALBA Berlin.
While Traore has shown enormous devotion to Les Bleus every summer since EuroBasket 2009, his first big tournament as a senior international, it is possible he might want to go through a repetition of last year's experience.
The 2.08m center had to leave France's training camp last July as he had suffered an injury in his left, at the time, knee but returned again to the team ahead of schedule, in order to not miss out on the London Olympics in August.
The hasty return aggravated the injury and Traore was sidelined for the rest of the calendar year.
He briefly joined Red Star Belgrade in the winter but was unable to play and finally made his return to action in March, when he signed with ALBA.
Traore's tweet follows last week's announcement by BCM's Ludovic Vaty, the talented French big man who was almost certain to make the jump to the senior national team this summer, that he is forced to retire prematurely from professional sport due to recently diagnosed heart condition.
The first French center to announce last month his unavailability for EuroBasket 2013 was Kevin Seraphin of the Washington Wizards, who cited his willingness to work on an individual fitness and training program during the summer as the reason.
France are still expecting that Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls, who struggled during the latter part of the season with a plantar fasciitis problem, and Ian Mahinmi, who is playing in the NBA Eastern Conference finals with the Indiana Pacers, will be on the squad that will compete at the EuroBasket.
Les Bleus were drawn in First Round Group A at the EuroBasket and will go up against Germany, Belgium, Israel, Great Britain and Ukraine in the race for a top-three finish.