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Jonas Valanciunas Injured In First Game With Lithuania

The Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas was playing in his first game of the summer for Lithuania on Wednesday when he slipped under the basket and could be seen holding his groin in obvious pain. These games are friendly exhibition tuneups for Eurobasket 2015 later this summer and there is equal concern with the National teams and the professional teams their players come from that nothing untoward happens.  Basketnews reported Lithuanian head coach Jonas Kazlauskas was very concerned after the match.

Valanciunas left the pitch with pain distorting his face and after a discussion coach Jonas Kazlauskas said he did not know what Valanciunas seriousness of the injury.

“He has a groin strain, while the injury heals long. This is not good,”  said Kazlauskas after the match. “So far we do not know how many seriously injured Valanciunas is, we will know later. ”

Basketball player himself said that nothing serious happened.

“My first sting,” Valanciunas told journalists. “Nothing severe happened. “

The next day Basketnews reported Valanciunas refused testing and insisted that he’ll be okay.

Although after the match coach  Jonas Kazlauskas said that they would carry out medical tests, (Valanciunas) later decided to refuse. Team spokesman Linas Kunigelis informed that after the game Valanciunas already felt great.

Eurobasket reports Valanciunas tried to pass off the concern with a joke.

There was some concern in the Lithuanian camp when Valanciunas slipped and fell on the floor, but the Toronto Raptors center dismissed fears of an injury.

“Nothing bad happened, tomorrow we will see how it really is but I think all is fine,” Valanciunas said.

“I do not even remember how it happened, but I know I slipped and managed to stretch my hip flexors for the first time in my life,” the big man added jokingly.

Any injury, no matter how minor, is not a joking matter in Toronto. Even a minor groin strain can mean big trouble as a lingering condition that can take weeks or even months to completely heal. The concern of NBA teams and their fans isn’t misplaced as National Team pride can appear to override rational thought and concern about how the player performs when he returns to the team that is paying him.

On the positive side, Valanciunas put up a 14 point, 10 rebound, 2 block double-double in just 19.3 minutes of action as Lithuania defeated Austria 86-71 (boxscore.)

Valanciunas received a warm applause from the capacity crowd at Kedainiai arena

The real test of Valanciunas’ injury will come next week when Lithuania plays three games in three days. They face Turkey on Monday, Macedonia on Tuesday and Croatia on Wednesday. If Valanciunas can play without pain through those three games, then he can joke about his fall on Wednesday all he wants.



Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.




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