Serbian player loses kidney after injury at Fiba World Cup


Serbia celebrates after winning against Dominican Republic during the Fiba World Cup second round at Araneta Coliseum, Manila, Philippines on Sunday Sept. 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

MANILA, Philippines — The Serbian Basketball Federation announced Monday that forward Borisa Simanic has lost one of his kidneys as the result of an injury sustained during a Fiba World Cup game against South Sudan.

Simanic has been operated on twice in Manila, the team said. Additional complications presented themselves after the first surgery, team doctor Dragan Radovanovic said, requiring the second procedure on Sunday where the kidney was removed.

Serbia plays Lithuania in a World Cup quarterfinal on Tuesday.

“It was really tough for us when we heard what happened,” Serbian forward Nikola Milutinov told reporters after the team practiced Monday. “First, we didn’t believe it was such a bad thing. It’s really affected us. We’re really praying for him that he’s going to be good as soon as possible.”

Serbia coach Svetislav Pesic Fiba World Cup

Serbia coach Svetislav Pesic during a game against South Sudan in the Fiba World Cup. -MARLO CUETO/

Simanic was injured with just under 2 minutes left in Serbia’s win over South Sudan on Wednesday. South Sudan’s Nuni Omot was trying to score under the basket, elbowing Simanic in that process. Simanic yelled in obvious pain, then fell to his knees a few seconds later.

Omot insisted he was not trying to cause an injury. Milutinov said it has shaken the Serbian team deeply.

“We didn’t sleep after that game. We were trying to find blood for him, because he was losing a lot of blood,” Milutinov said. “It was really a tough moment for everybody. I hope this will never happen to anybody in the world.”

The team is not certain when Simanic will be released from the Manila hospital where he is being treated. Simanic scored three points in about 20 minutes off Serbia’s bench in three games during the World Cup.

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