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Mantas Kalnietis (LTU)
27/08/2014
News
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Lithuania lose Kalnietis but remain a team to be feared

ZAGREB (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Lithuania will have to overcome the loss of starting point guard Mantas Kalnietis to injury when they play at the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Kalnietis dislocated his shoulder on Tuesday night in a friendly against Croatia and will now miss the 24-team tournament.

The 27-year-old got hurt while attempting to fight through a pick that was being set by Ante Tomic.

His right shoulder slammed into the midsection of the Croatia center.

Kalnietis got up slowly and received treatment on the floor before being helped to the bench.

Lithuania coach Jonas Kazlauskas has included Adas Juskevicius in the final 12-man squad as a replacement.

The loss of Kalnietis, who played for the Lithuanians at the last couple of FIBA World Championships and had a starring role in their side that reached the podium four years ago, is undoubtedly a blow, yet the Baltic giants remain a team to be feared.

They will be contenders for supremacy in a Group D that includes Slovenia, Australia, Angola and Korea and still have every chance of getting on a role and challenging for a top-three spot.

Kazlauskas has plenty of weapons, including several in the front court with centers Jonas Valanciunas and Donatas Motiejunas, and big men Paulius Jankunas, Darjus Lavrinovic and Ksistof Lavrinovic.

Forwards Jonas Maciulis and Simas Jasaitis, and guards Martynas Pocius and Renaldas Seibutis are all battle-hardened.

It remains to be seen how much court time will be afforded to point guards Saras Vasiliauskas and Juskevicius.

The 25-year-olds wore the Lithuania shirt as teammates at the 2009 U20 European Championship, with the World Cup representing the first opportunity for each in a tournament at senior level.

The squad on Wednesday left Croatia for Gran Canaria, although Kalnietis was due to return to Lithuania.

Lithuania hammered Croatia in the Semi-Finals of EuroBasket 2013 en route to a second-place finish.

Croatia won their friendly on Tuesday night in Zagreb, 94-80.

Lithuania squad for FIBA Basketball World Cup: Adas Juskevicius, Sarunas Vasiliauskas, Martynas Pocius, Renaldas Seibutis, Jonas Maciulis, Simas Jasaitis, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Donatas Motiejūnas, Paulius Jankunas, Ksistofas Lavrinovicius, Darjusas Lavrinovicius and Jonas Valanciunas.

FIBA