|10 September 2013|
|Hanno Möttölä's EuroBasket campaign has come to an early end, leaving Finland with 11 players for the remainder of the event |
On the day of his 37th birthday, Finland's Hanno Möttölä picked up an injury that brought his participation at EuroBasket 2013 to an unceremonious, premature end.
The veteran big man tore a ligament on Monday, in a clash with Vassilis Spanoulis during Finland's last game in the First Round in Koper, an 86-77 victory over Greece.
Finland qualified in glorious fashion for the Second Round of the showcase tournament, that resumes on Wednesday in Ljubljana, but they will continue the rest of their campaign with 11 players on the squad, and most importantly, can no longer count on Möttölä's enormous experience and 2.09m frame.
"Of course we've lost one of the key players on our team," Finland head coach Henrik Dettmann told fibaeurope.com
"Hanno's game changed of course since five years ago, when he used to play 30 minutes a game, he was now playing 15 minutes a game.
"But he had been giving us 15 quality minutes, so this is a big loss for us."
Möttölä picked up the injury after spending just one minute on the court in the clash against the Greeks.
He averaged 6.2 points and 1.8 rebounds per game in the five games he played in the tournament in Slovenia.
"It speaks for Hanno's character, that he has been able to adjust his game like this, and his only goal was to help the team," Dettmann said.
"He had been working to get in shape and I think for a 37-year-old, not such a young man any more, he has been in great shape.
"But this is just a part of sport, unfortunately."
Möttölä had worked his way to full fitness earlier this year and finished the club season with ToPo Helsinki in Finland's Divari A league.
He became a senior Finland international at the age of 19, suiting up for the national team at EuroBasket 1995 in Athens, where he averaged 4.2 points and 4.2 boards per game.