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Mozgov says he never refused to join Russian basketball team for 2019 FIBA World Cup

Earlier it was reported that the athlete would withdraw from the tournament due to a trauma

MOSCOW, July 23. /TASS, Andrei Kartashov/. On Tuesday, Russian basketball team’s center Timofey Mozgov refuted media reports about his ineligibility for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.

The Russian Basketball Federation (RBF) posted a statement on its official website earlier in the day that Mozgov would be unable to join the national team for the upcoming global basketball tournament.

The Russian national men’s basketball team arrived at the training camp in Novogorsk on July 22, outside Moscow, for the 2019 FIBA World Cup and Mozgov was on the national squad’s roster.

"I had no contacts with the national team’s administration or the Russian Basketball Federation in the recent days and, therefore, was unable to announce my inability to join the national squad for the upcoming 2019 FIBA World Cup," Mozgov told TASS.

"Moreover, I have never planned to make announcements on this issue until the very last moment," he continued. "I have an appointment with the doctor on August 1, who should tell me whether I am fit to start full-fledged trainings or not."

"My agents earlier delivered this information to the coaching staff and kept them informed on the progress of my recovery," Mozgov pointed out. "They [the agents] did not dislose any other information to anyone else."

"I am still following the recommendations of my doctors and do everything I can to recover by the time of the World Cup’s start. This is why I have no idea at all where the news came from about my hundred-percent inability to help the national team this year."

"If this decision was made by the executive management, it is better to get in touch with them about this question since nobody called me regarding this issue," the famous basketballer remarked. "However, if this news is true I will treat it with respect and will wish the national team success at the World Cup."

"I would also like to add that I will be ready to help the national team in the next qualifying season," the 33-year-old NBA champion from Russia concluded.

Mozgov is one of the first two Russian basketball players to win the much-coveted NBA Champion’s ring, which he snatched playing for Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015. His compatriot and teammate at that time, Sasha Kaun, was the other Russian national to enjoy the privilege of winning the US-based basketball league’s ring of the champion, although he spent less time on the court compared to Mozgov.

Andrei Kirilenko, the president of the Russian Basketball Federation (RBF), told TASS on Tuesday that Mozgov had a chance of joining the team for the championship only if he recovered from the injury and got in the required physical shape.

"Our team needs Mozgov, he would be of great help at the World Cup, but only if he is healthy and physically fit," Kirilenko highlighted. "He [Mozgov] needs to complete his recovery and get in the required shape."

Russia’s strong basketball player Mozgov, who is two meters and 16 centimeters tall (7 feet and 1 inch) and weighs 125 kg (275 pounds), said in an interview with TASS last week he was hoping to join the national team for the world championship in China, but was undergoing a medical treatment on a knee injury.

The 18th edition of the FIBA Basketball World Cup among men’s teams is due in China between August 31 and September 15. Following the Draw on March 16, the Russian national team was placed in Group B alongside the teams from Nigeria, Argentina and South Korea.