ALREADY without star forward Yi Jian Lian, China also lost a valuable point guard in Liu Xiaoyu early in the first quarter of its game against Kazakhstan, typifying the defending champion’s ongoing struggle in the 27th FIBA Asia Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Coach Panagiotis Giannakis said China will have to adjust further on their rotation with the injury of Liu, who fell hard on his back after losing his balance in a collision with Kazakh big man Leonid Bondarovic midway through the first period.
Liu was carried out of the court by his teammates after lying on the floor for several minutes. He managed to return to the Chinese bench with the help of a team official, but didn’t play again.
“We’re waiting for Yi to be healthy. We know we need him and we need Li also, the point guard we lost,” Giannakis said.
Giannakis felt his boys needed to take care of business while waiting for Yi’s return after he missed the team’s third straight game due to hamstring and groin injuries.
“I hope (Liu) he’ll be okay for tomorrow (Tuesday). We need to fight and play strong. We’re gonna work for that, though Yi is getting better.”
Giannakis at least has an opportunity to rest both Yi and Liu again on Tuesday and Wednesday when the Chinese take on India and Bahrain, respectively.