|17 June 2013|
|Dusko Savanovic is missing EuroBasket 2013, but is not retiring from international duty yet|
Serbian power forward Dusko Savanovic will need to abstain from training during the summer because of a herniated disc in his lower back and will not play for the national team at EuroBasket 2013, it emerged on Monday.
Savanovic, who played through the pain in the final stretch of the club season with Anadolu Efes, was included in the preliminary squad for September's EuroBasket that coach Dusan Ivkovic had announced on 6 June.
"I thought I could play, that it would be enough to get some rest and then I would grind my teeth and make it, but the people in white coats [the doctors] were merciless," Savanovic explained to Serbian newspaper Sportski Zurnal.
"Already at the end of the season things did not look so good but I was waiting to undergo a detailed examination.
"I did it in Turkey and it was much worse than I expected, they told me that I cannot move and train for two months."
Savanovic, who turns 30 the day after the EuroBasket tips off in Slovenia in September, became a senior international at the relatively late age of 26 and has always stressed the enormous importance that playing for the Serbian national team has to him.
"I did not cry, but it sure was not easy to swallow the shock," he admitted.
"I played [last summer] in the Qualification Round, I travelled to Iceland and Estonia with the only goal to play this summer at the EuroBasket.
"I did everything I could and now I cannot play, that's what hurts me the most."
The power forward was quick to dismiss suggestions of an early retirement from international duty.
"If I stay healthy and I am required by the coach, I will always play for Serbia, as long as I can walk," he stated categorically.
|Serbia head coach Dusan Ivkovic might face more injury woes in the upcoming weeks|
Savanovic also revealed that coach Ivkovic was kept informed of the examination process and results and had given him his full support during this time.
"Maybe young guys will get some more space, and then you never know what we can do or how far they can go," the forward said of Serbia's chances at the EuroBasket.
"Even in the worst possible health predictions come true, I do not think that our team is without chances, on the contrary."
Serbia are braced for more injury woes this summer, as two more first-choice power forwards, in addition to Savanovic, have struggled with health issues this year.
Zoran Erceg tore his Achilles tendon in the autumn and underwent surgery, while Novica Velickovic only returned to action late in the season after an almost 10-month absence from the courts.
Meanwhile star point guard Milos Teodosic sustained a left calf injury in late May and will not recover full fitness before early August, if his rehabilitation goes according to plan.
Serbia were drawn in First Round Group B at the EuroBasket, together with Bosnia and Herzegovina, F.Y.R. of Macedonia, Montenegro, Latvia and Lithuania.