Aron Baynes ruled out of Olympics after freak change-room accident

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Aron Baynes, pictured here in action for the Boomers at the Tokyo Olympics.
Aron Baynes in action for the Boomers at the Tokyo Olympics. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

Australia's hopes of winning gold in men's basketball have been dealt a huge blow, with NBA centre Aron Baynes ruled out for the rest of the Olympics.

Baynes slipped and fell on the change-room floor during a game earlier this week and aggravated a neck injury.

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The triple Olympian failed to finish Australia's recent game against Italy, which the Boomers won to improve their Tokyo record to 2-0.

Team doctor David Hughes explained that Baynes had been hurt on court and later "slipped in the bathroom and suffered further injury".

"It became apparent to the medical staff that this was a bit more serious than just an average injury and so as a precaution he was taken to hospital and he's undergoing further tests at the moment," Hughes said.

Baynes has won an NBA title with San Antonio Spurs and established himself as one of the world's most physical forwards.

He was a crucial cog in Australia's push towards a maiden international medal.

"I am really disappointed that I can't continue in the Olympics," Baynes said.

"I along with the rest of the team have been working so hard in our quest for an 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".

Aron Baynes, pictured here in action for Australia against Nigeria at the Olympics.
Aron Baynes in action for Australia against Nigeria at the Olympics. (Photo by Aris Messinis - Pool/2021 Getty Images )

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Teammate Patty Mills admitted Baynes' absence would be a significant hurdle.

"It's a tough loss for us," Mills said.

"His presence on the floor and physical play has been a big part of our identity for so long and that will be missed, but it doesn't change our focus and how we go about our business and what we have come to achieve.

"We have always spoken about how important each player's role is, and the impact it can have for the better of our group because of our depth.

"That doesn't change. We've got Baynsey's back. We'll cover for him.

"I have every confidence in this playing group and our focus will not waiver as we strive for that Olympic gold medal."

Australia plays Germany on Saturday in their final pool game, with Jock Landale, Duop Reath and Nick Kay set to take the extra front-court load in Baynes' absence.

with AAP

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