|28 June 2012|
|Power forward Novica Velickovic, who missed out on EuroBasket 2011 because of injury, will be unable to help Serbia secure their place in the 2013 edition |
Serbia coach Dusan Ivkovic has never faced as many problems with injuries in any of his squads, as he currently does heading into the Blues' training camp ahead of the EuroBasket 2013 Qualification Round.
Ailing trio Novica Velickovic, Kosta Perovic and Stefan Markovic have been cut from the preliminary list of players, and even captain Nenad Krstic is doubtful, Ivkovic announced on Thursday.
"We've tried our best to have most of our players available for these qualifications, but I've never faced as many problems with injuries in my entire career," said Ivkovic.
"After long, detailed medical tests, we've got information that Velickovic, Perovic and Markovic won't be able to fulfill our expectations.
"I didn't expect that when I made my preliminary list, as I thought that their injuries were not as serious.
"Krstic is doubtful as his recovery is still in progress.
This unforseen ituation has forced the veteran tactician to modify his original roster.
"Vladimir Stimac has been called due to his enormous energy and brilliant offensive rebounding," Ivkovic explained.
"He just responded with 'I'll be there', without even asking for conditions or any details.
"I've spoken with Vladimir Micov, also, as I was misinformed about his injury status.
"Last month I thought it was something very serious, but it seems that I just got it wrong.
"That was my fault, maybe because I was so focused on the end of the season with Olympiacos."
Ivkovic led Olympiacos to a Turkish Airlines Euroleague and Greek League double before announcing that he would not be returning to the club.
"Micov will be with us, also", said Ivkovic, who also cut Mladen Jeremic and Andreja Milutinovic.
Ivkovic announced that his assistants will be Aleksandar Kesar and Vlada Vukoicic, while adding that his team will face a tough task to earn a EuroBasket berth.
They have Qualification Round games against Israel, Montenegro, the Slovak Republic, Iceland and Estonia.
"This could be a crossroads for us as our group is quite tough and we won't be there with our best team," Ivkovic said.
"Still, with our team spirit and great commitment, I believe we can be successful."
Serbia won the silver medal at EuroBasket 2009 and reached the Semi-Finals of the 2010 World Championship but they came in eighth at last year's EuroBasket in Lithuania.
After his first cut, Ivkovic's team now consists of: Milos Teodosic, Milenko Tepic, Aleksandar Rasic, Vladimir Micov, Danilo Andjusic, Nemanja Jaramaz, Nemanja Nedovic, Ivan Paunic, Marko Keselj, Nemanja Bjelica, Vladimir Lucic, Dusko Savanovic, Zoran Erceg, Milan Macvan, Dragan Labovic, Nenad Krstic, Milovan Rakovic, Miroslav Raduljica, Dejan Musli, Mile Ilic and Vladimir Stimac.