“The Stifle Tower” of France will not join the French Men’s National Basketball Team in the 2016 Men’s Basketball Olympic Qualifying Tournament in June.
In an interview with Sportado.com, the 23 year old center of the Utah Jazz said that upon the advice of his club team, he will not suit-up for the “Les Bleus.” “Yeah, I won’t play in Manila at OQT,” Gobert said in an interview by the publication. “This season I had several injuries, so Jazz want me to stay in Salt Lake in June to work on my body.”
“But I’ve already said to (France head coach, Vincent) Collet that I’ll be able to play in Rio, if we reach the qualification.”
Currently in his third season in the NBA, Gobert averaged 9.13 points on 56 percent shooting, 10.95 rebounds, and 2.21 blocks in 61 games played this season. However, the French big man missed 21 games in the early parts of the season due to a Grade II sprain of his MCL that occurred during one of the team’s practices.
Losing Gobert is a huge blow for the 2014 FIBA World Cup bronze medalists as small forward Nicolas Batum will most likely not play in the OQT as well.
Denver Nuggets center Joffrey Lauvergne is penciled in to take his place in the center position for the tournament.