Lithuanian national team lost one more player ahead of EuroBasket 2011. Jonas Maciulis of Armani Jeans Milano suffered anterior cruciate ligament injury in his right knee during Italian league game which will put him out of action for at least 6 months.
The news of Maciulis’ injury were very unwelcome for Lithuania’s head coach Kestutis Kemzura. The coach expressed his disappointment and stated the he will be calling other players trying to cover the abscence of Maciulis.
Maciulis became the second important player for Lithuania who will miss EuroBasket due to injury. Linas Kleiza, who emerged as a leader of the national team last year in FIBA World Championship in Turkey, is currently recovering after a knee surgery.
Kleiza promised to be in EuroBasket 2011 but only as a spectator.
Lithuania won bronze in Turkey with Maciulis averaging 9 points and 2.9 rebounds. The 26-year-old forward had his best game against France with 19 points helping his team secure first place in Group D.
The hosts of EuroBasket 2011 have been hit with injuries lately as Martynas Pocius of Zalgiris had to undergo a surgey which was necessary to due a back injury. Although Pocius is expected to be ready to play in couple of months time, he will certainly need time to get in shape.
On the bright side, Rimantas Kaukenas of Montepaschi Siena confirmed his intention to return to the national team after two years of absence.
The primary goal for Lithuanian national team set by the national basketball federation is to reach the final in this year’s EuroBasket and getting a direct qualification for London Olympics.
Lithuania will face Spain, Turkey, Great Britain, Poland and the second placed team from the qualifiying round in Panevezys.