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Ömer ASIK (Turkey)
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Asik forced out of EuroBasket 2015 through injury

ISTANBUL (EuroBasket 2015) - Turkey will depart for Italy on Monday to conduct the main stage of their training camp without center Omer Asik, who learned on Saturday that he has to pull out of EuroBasket 2015.

The New Orleans Pelicans center, who turned 29 in early July, will not be able to recover from a persistent lower back injury in time for September's showcase event.

"Omer Asik had notified us of lower back pains and, after the necessary medical tests, the national team doctors have ruled him out of EuroBasket 2015," said Turkish national team manager Haluk Yildiriım.

"Therefore the player will not continue preparations with the team as he has to undergo further treatment.

"Our 20-man EuroBasket preliminary squad has now been reduced to 19 players, but in any case the team continues to work hard to prepare in the best way possible for the tournament."

Asik's condition did not catch Turkey entirely off guard, as national team doctor Tahsin Beyzadeoglu revealed.

"Already last summer, Omer was suffering from back pains by the time he joined the national team," he said.

"The Pelicans sent their own doctors for Omer to do conditioning work with them.

"But he was able to play in the FIBA Basketball World Cup (in 2014) as we implemented an intensive treatment which bared fruits.

"This past season however he sat out a few games in the NBA and New Orleans informed us in a recent meeting that he was struggling with reactive arthritis."

While Asik's absence is undoubtedly a serious blow for Turkey, head coach Ergin Ataman still counts with several options in the frontcourt.

The Turkish team's two other NBA players, Furkan Aldemir and Ersan Ilyasova, are likely to occupy the center and power forward spots in the starting line-up at the EuroBasket.

Experienced internationals Oguz Savas and Semih Erden provide Turkey's frontline with both good size and depth.

Meanwhile exciting 2.13m young center Emircan Kosut, a player of whom coach Ataman already thought very highly, could now be afforded more chances during warm-up games to show that he is ready to earn a spot on Turkey's final EuroBasket squad.

Only last Sunday, Kosut was voted in the All-Star Five of the U20 European Championship by the coaches of the participating teams, as he propelled Turkey to a third-place finish.

The Turkish young center led the tournament in blocks, swatting away 2.9 shots on average, to go with his 10.3 points on 58.9% shooting and 7.1 rebounds per encounter.

"We will do our best to represent our country at the Olympic Games," Ataman said.

"We are in a challenging group in Berlin, but this could be a blessing in disguise.

"If we come out of such a tough group, we could have better chances in the knock-out games"

Turkey will face Serbia, Iceland, Italy, Spain and hosts Germany in Group B.

Turkish preliminary squad for EuroBasket 2015: Furkan Aldemir, Dogus Balbay, Birkan Batuk, Robert Dixon, Semih Erden, Samet Geyik, Sinan Guler, Akif Egemen Guven, Baris Hersek, Ersan Ilyasova, Huseyin Koksal, Furkan Korkmaz, Emircan Kosut, Melih Mahmutoglu, Can Maxim Mutaf, Cedi Osman, Kartal Ozmizrak, Oguz Savas, Kenan Sipahi.

Go to eurobasket2015.org for more coverage of EuroBasket 2015.