Serbia will no longer have one of its top players for the remainder of the 2021 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade.
The Basketball Federation of Serbia (KSS) announced that Stefan Jovic is now ruled out of the meet after suffering a ruptured muscle during their clash with Gilas Pilipinas Wednesday night (Thursday morning, Manila time).
The decorated floor general got hurt with 4:27 left in the game following a drive to the hoop. He had to be helped out of the court, leaving the game with two points, five rebounds, four assists, and a steal in 23 minutes of play.
Serbia averted a massive upset from taking place with an 83-76 escape to sweep the group stages and enter the semis as Group A’s top seed.
But the home team could hardly celebrate because of Jovic’s injury. In a report by Mozzart Sport, the 30-year-old will need 5-7 weeks to recover, meaning he won’t be able to play in the Olympics should his side make it.
Jovic, who’s earned accolades in German and Serbian leagues as well as in the ABA League, has been a fixture in the national team. He was part of the squads that won silver in the 2014 World Cup, 2016 Olympics, and 2017 EuroBasket.
This marks yet another injury woe for the Eagles, who played Gilas without team captain Nikola Kalinic, Nemanja Bjelica, and Vasilije Micic as they all got banged up during their 94-76 conquest of the Dominican Republic the night before.
Serbia is now waiting for its semis opponent from Group B, which features another European force Italy and Puerto Rico.