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Page last updated at 11:33 GMT, Tuesday, 13 July 2010 12:33 UK

NBA star Ben Gordon's ruled out of GB debut by injury

Ben Gordon
Ben Gordon had ankle surgery after the NBA season

NBA star Ben Gordon must wait for his Great Britain debut after he was ruled out of August's EuroBasket qualifiers.

Gordon, of the Detroit Pistons, has not recovered after having bone spurs removed from his ankle after missing 20 games last season with the injury.

"I am really disappointed my injury will not be fully healed in time for me to join GB," the 27-year-old said.

Forward Joel Freeland has also been ruled out with a back problem, leaving coach Chris Finch short of big men.

Great Britain have spent four years recruiting the London-born Gordon for the national team, helped in no small part by his former Chicago Bulls team-mate and GB star Luol Deng.

But the Detroit guard made himself unavailable while securing a multi-million dollar move from Chicago to Detroit in 2009.

606: DEBATE

This summer, however, Great Britain got the commitment from Gordon for which they had been hoping.

"I'm really disappointed," added Gordon. "The British medical staff and management have been in touch with the Pistons over the past few weeks - unfortunately, I just won't be ready to play come August.

"I am really looking forward to playing next year and will follow the team's success this summer. It would have been great to play with Luol [Deng] this summer - it will just have to wait until next year."

Finch is expected to name his training squad for the eight-game qualifying campaign, which starts with a trip to Hungary on 2 August, this week.

Great Britain performance director Chris Spice admitted to BBC Sport at the weekend there were doubts over Gordon's participation.

Freeland, one of Britain's biggest successes of the past two summers, will also be missed.

With veteran centre Andrew Betts and Freeland's Malaga team-mate Robert Archibald both opting to rest this summer, Great Britain could be short of experienced height.

As a result, Finch is likely to be forced to include inexperienced players from the Futures squad around his remaining high-profile veterans such as Deng and Pops Mensah-Bonsu.

"It will be a great opportunity for some of the younger players to step up to the mark and stake a claim for a regular place," stated Finch. "Players like Justin Robinson, Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Ashley Hamilton all performed well for the GB Futures."

Also likely to feature is Dan Clark, who made last season's EuroBasket squad without getting to play in Poland.

With the 2012 Olympics approaching, Great Britain need to qualify for the 2011 EuroBasket finals in Lithuania to prove themselves worthy of a host's spot in London

World governing body Fiba recently stated that Great Britain must provide a lasting legacy for basketball beyond the 2012 Olympics as well as proving themselves competitive.


Full list of GB's European Championships qualifying fixtures:

Men

Hungary v GB, 2 August (Szolnok)
GB v Macedonia, 8 August at Northumbria University, Newcastle
Bosnia-Hercegovina v GB, 11 August (Novi Grad)
GB v Ukraine, 14 August at Birmingham NIA
GB v Hungary, 17 August at Birmingham NIA
Macedonia v GB, 23 August (Skopje)
GB v Bosnia-Hercegovina, 26 August at Liverpool Echo Arena
Ukraine v GB, 29 August (Dnipropetrovsk)

Women

GB v Slovakia, 14 August at Birmingham NIA
Germany v GB, 17 August (Wolfenbuettel)
GB v Ukraine, 20 August at Surrey University
Slovakia v GB, 23 August (Kosice)
GB v Germany, 26 August at Liverpool Echo Arena
Ukraine v GB, 29 August (Dnipropetrovsk)



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see also
NBA star Gordon to make GB debut
07 May 10 |  Basketball
GB teams plan Euro double-headers
08 Apr 10 |  Basketball
Coach calls for GB trio to commit
14 Feb 10 |  Basketball
GB overlooked for Worlds wildcard
12 Dec 09 |  Basketball
Gordon committed to British cause
10 Sep 09 |  Basketball
Serbia defeat ends GB challenge
09 Sep 09 |  Basketball
Aussie Maher will coach GB women
11 May 09 |  Basketball
GB women 'still working for 2012'
22 Jan 09 |  Basketball
Gordon's NBA move boosts GB hopes
09 Jul 09 |  Basketball


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