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Assem Marei (EGY)
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EGY - Marei's race against the clock

ALEXANDRIA (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - As the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup approaches quickly, Egypt's ace Assem Marei is racing against the clock because of a knee surgery he underwent in May.

The 22-year-old was crucial in helping Egypt clinch a second place at AfroBasket 2013, which qualified the country to FIBA's flagship tournament for the first time since 1994.

The 2.06 center led Egypt with 14.6 points and 11.6 rebounds per game, and continued his impressive play at Minnesota State University leading the Mavericks with averages of 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, while also registering a team-high 53 blocks and 10 double-double performances in 2013-14.

However, his dream of facing childhood hero Pau Gasol still hangs in the balance because of a slow injury recovery.

"(My recovering process) It's going okay but I don't feel confident with my knee. It's not close to hundred percent. So I'll see by the middle of this month (August)," he explained to FIBA.com.

When asked if his condition could affect his presence at Spain 2014 - Marei has missed a great part of Egypt warm-up international games since early May - he said: "There's a possibility, yeah."

Meanwhile, head coach Amr Aboul Kheir confirmed the inclusion in the team of Omar Oraby, who last represented Egypt at the 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship in New Zealand.

This past season, the 2.13m Oraby shone for the University of Southern California with averages of 8.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.3 rebounds per game. He spent last month's Las Vegas Summer League with the Houston Rockets.

Before Egypt open their World Cup Group A campaign against Serbia on 30 August in the Spanish city of Granada, the Northern African nation has competed in the 2014 edition of the William Jones Cup in Taiwan.

If Marei is healthy on time in the next two weeks, he would join the race to make the final roster.

Egypt squad for FIBA Basketball World Cup: Wael Khedr, Mohannad El Sabbagh, Ibrahim El Gammal, Youssef Abou-Shousha, Sherif Geneidy, Amr El Gendy, Mohamed El Leithy, Moamen Abu El Enein, Rami Ibrahim, Mostafa Mekawy, Haitham Kamal, Omar Oraby, Ashraf Rabie and Seif Samir.