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Australia hoops blow as Baynes ruled out of Olympics

Australia suffered a blow to their men’s basketball gold medal hopes on Friday with Toronto Raptors star Aron Baynes ruled out of the rest of the Olympics with a neck injury.

The triple Olympian picked up the problem in the second half of the Boomers’ three-point win over Italy on Wednesday in Saitama and was taken to a local hospital for tests.

He is expected to recover, but not in time to return to the court in Tokyo.

“I am really disappointed that I can’t continue in the Olympics,” he said in a statement.

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“I along with the rest of the team have been working so hard in our quest for a historic Olympic medal and I am gutted that I can’t complete the journey with the boys. But I have every confidence that they will get the job done.”

Third-ranked Australia have never won Olympic gold, but believe that with other NBA players like Patty Mills and Joe Ingles in their ranks, they have enough firepower to break the drought in Japan.

Head coach Brian Goorjian said he remained confident in the team’s chances.

“Aron is a big part of our team and we are all hurting for him, but we have great depth in our squad and I have every confidence in the 11 remaining players,” he said.

“We will all stay focused on the task ahead.”

Australia’s next pool game is against Germany on Saturday.

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