TAIPEI - Iran giant Hamed Haddadi got a good, nice rest ahead of the Jones Cup game against Gilas Pilipinas, but top gun Samad Bahrami will not be around when the two finalists of the 2013 Fiba Asia championship in Manila face off again on Thursday afternoon.
The 7-2 Haddadi was a can't miss figure in a bright-red jacket and jogging pants behind the Iran bench on Wednesday during the match against a USA Selection, which pounded on his absence to come away with a 66-81 loss behind the 34 points and 12 rebounds of former GlobalPort import Calvin Warner.
Iran coach Dirk Bauermann, however, was quick to assure that there are no health issues surrounding Haddadi, saying the former NBA player was merely given a much-needed rest.
"You can’t play eight games in eight days, that’s impossible. So in the middle of the tournament, we felt it was the right time to give (Haddadi) some rest," said the former Germany national coach. "But he’s okay and he’ll play against the Philippines."
However, it is a different case with Bahrami, the 6-foot-5 gunner long recognized as the best forward in Asia.
Bauermann said the sweet-shooting 32-year-old is dealing with a 'minor health issue' and elected to stay home than join the team in the Jones Cup, where the Iranians are still 4-1 (win-loss) and still in the thick of the hunt for the title.
Bauermann, who coached Dirk Nowitzki during his time as coach of Germany's national team, is confident Bahrami will be healthy enough to rejoin the Iran side by the time they get home from the Jones Cup.
"(It's a) minor injury, nothing serious at all, but we felt it would be better for him to stay home and get treatment and work out with our people," he said. "But we’re very optimistic that he’ll join us by the time we come back from the Jones Cup."
Bahrami was initially listed in the Dallas Mavericks' lineup for the NBA Summer League alongside Fil-American Bobby Ray Parks, but elected not to show up in Las Vegas.
Asked why, Bauermann said: "He didn’t go there. I just thought he didn’t see a chance for himself to make the team, so why go there."