Star Australian centre Aron Baynes has not given up hope of continuing his NBA career despite being ruled out for the entire season with a serious neck injury.
- Baynes was injured during the Boomers’ Tokyo Olympics campaign
- He had already been waived by his most recent NBA team Toronto Raptors
- Baynes has played for several NBA teams during his career
Baynes suffered nerve damage after slipping in the change rooms during the Boomers’ group-stage win over Italy at the Tokyo Olympics.
The 34-year-old had taken himself off the court due to an injury, but it was the slip in the change rooms that caused the most serious damage.
Baynes was hospitalised for the remainder of the Boomers’ Olympics campaign and had to be stretchered off the plane upon returning to Australia.
He had already been waived by his most recent NBA team Toronto Raptors, but his hopes of landing a deal elsewhere were thwarted by the injury.
His manager, Daniel Moldovan, confirmed Baynes will sit out the entire 2021/22 NBA campaign to focus on his recovery.
Moldovan said Baynes was hopeful of making a return to the court the following season.
Mystery has surrounded the exact nature of the injury and just how limited Baynes is in his day-to-day life.
Boomers coach Brian Goorjian has tried to reach out to Baynes since the Olympics without any luck.
Several Boomers teammates have also been unable to contact Baynes.
Goorjian said he was desperate to speak to Baynes again to check on his welfare.
“When I got back [from the Olympics] I gave it a couple of days and I messaged him, and then messaged him again, and then messaged his wife,” Goorjian said.
“I just wanted him to know we care about him and if basketball is over, we’re still thinking of him.
“But you get to a point and say, ‘Well, maybe it’s an emotional time for him now and he wants space’.
“So I’ve given it space. I want to be loyal to him and I want to support him.
The Boomers found a way to cover for Baynes on the way to winning a historic bronze medal in Tokyo.
Baynes struggled in his debut season at the Raptors last season, averaging just 6.1 points per game from his 53 appearances.
A year earlier he had starred for the Phoenix Suns, averaging a career-high 11.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.
His best performance came in a 127-117 win over Portland Trail Blazers, when he sunk nine three-pointers on the way to a 37-point haul and also tallied 16 rebounds and two blocks.