MOSCOW, August 18. /TASS/. Three Russian national basketball team’s players, including squad’s captain Anton Ponkrashov, will miss the 2015 FIBA European Championship next month due to their health condition, the Russian Basketball Federation announced on its website on Tuesday.
Ponkrashov recently underwent a knee surgery, Yegor Vyaltsev is suffering from pains in one of his knees, while Yevgeny Voronov sustained an ankle injury not long ago.
The three players will be replaced with Yevgeny Baburin, playing defense at the Nizhny Novgorod club, center Pavel Podkolzin and guard Sergey Tokarev, both from the Novosibirsk club.
In an interview with TASS, Dmitry Domani, the general manager of the Russian national team, said there was no any sort of a hidden scandal in the replacement of the players.
"They really suffer from injuries, which do not let them play at their full strength," Domani told TASS. "We care about the players in our national team."
Yevgeny Pashutin, the head coach of the national team, also said that no scandals should be traced in the replacement of the players at the issue.
"The players were really injured," Pashutin said in an interview with TASS. "There is nothing scandalous in this situation. There is a total understanding among us."
Pashutin, who has been the coach of the national team since November 2013, said that Sergey Monya, a forward from Russia’s Khimki basketball club, would replace Ponkrashov in the capacity of the team’s captain and lead the team at the European Championship.
"Monya will be the captain of the team," the 46-year-old coach of the Russian national basketball team said.
Russian national team’s chief doctor, Vasily Avramenko, said Pashutin’s decision to relieve the three players of physical trainings and give them time to recover had been completely justified.
"Under the current circumstances the head coach made a very professional decision," Avramenko told TASS. "He is very emotional about the team and is liable to the country for the team’s qualification for the  Olympics. But at the same time, he must be responsible for the health of the players."
The Russian national team began practices for the 2015 FIBA European Championship, to be held between September 5 and 20, on July 13. The championship will not only decide the title of the best European basketball team, but also serves as a qualifying tournament for the national teams’ spots at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro.