The freakiest of injuries has ended Aron Baynes’ hopes of leading Australia to Olympic gold on the court.
The Toronto Raptors and Australia center will miss the rest of the Tokyo Olympics due to a neck injury he suffered Wednesday. Baynes initially hurt himself during the first half of the Australia-Italy game, but his ailment worsened in the second half after he slipped in the team bathroom.
“It was a complicated series of events,” Australia chief medical officer David Hughes told reporters Friday, per Yahoo! Sports’ Kellen Forrest. “He did suffer an injury during the match on the court, and then he had a slip in the bathroom and suffered further injury.”
Baynes had been playing well against Italy as Australia’s starting center. He scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 14 minutes prior to his injury.
Australia men’s basketball finished fourth in the 1996, 2000 and 2016 Olympics and is intent on earning its first medal at the Tokyo Games. Baynes told reporters he still believes his teammates can achieve that goal without him.
“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,” Baynes said, per Forrest. “But I have every confidence that they will get the job done.”
Baynes, 34, played for the Boston Celtics in 2017-18 and 2018-19. The Celtics traded him to the Phoenix Suns in June 2019. He played for the Western Conference side until November 2020 when he joined the Raptors on a two-year contract.