Yi Jianlian's injury not serious, source says
Yi Jianlian's inflamed left Achilles' tendon was feeling better on Monday, but he is still expected to be a game-time decision on Tuesday, when China faces Lithuania in the knockout round of the FIBA world championships in Turkey.
The Wizards' lone representative in Turkey suffered the injury late in China's loss to Puerto Rico and aggravated it the next game against Russia. He sat out the next game against Turkey, an 87-40 loss, and had an MRI on Friday that turned out negative. Yi has never had any previous problems with his Achilles' and a person close to Yi said that injury wasn't serious and was simply the result of a long summer of intense competition. The person suggested that it would heal with rest following the conclusion of this tournament.
Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said on Monday the team would monitor Yi's situation closely, but is optimistic that the 22-year-old big man to be ready for training camp. He added that he has been pleased with Yi's performance.
"Yi's played very well," Grunfeld said. "He's led that team and he's been their go-to-guy. He's put up some real good numbers and we feel real good about the way he's played in the world championships."
China wasn't expected to advance beyond Group C, but benefited from Ivory Coast's surprising upset of Puerto Rico. All three teams finished with 1-4 records, but China won the tiebreaker because it had a positive point differential.
The 7-foot Yi has had an incredible tournament, as he ranks third in scoring at 22.5 points and first in rebounding at 9.8, but he told China Daily that he was unsure about his availability against Turkey. "It's not a bad injury, but I still have to wait and see if I can get fully fit in time," he said.
China's Coach Bob Donewald told FIBA.com that he expects Yi to benefit from this experience. "He was a top pick in the NBA Draft and he goes to one team, Milwaukee, then New Jersey," Donewald said. "One thing I learned about the NBA is there's a lot of talent, great players not playing so it's got to be the right fit. The confidence has got to come around. I think now, he's in the right place. I know Washington's excited to have him. I think he's going to explode in the NBA this year. He's certainly exploding on the world of international basketball."
September 6, 2010; 4:19 PM ET
Categories: Yi Jianlian
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