posted by Cindy Garcia-Bennett 16:03pm
|Category: FIBA World Championship
IT'S ONE WORLD, ONE TITLE...
Luis Scola isn't smiling. The prospect of having a date with the dentist in Saitama would wipe the smile off anyone's face.
Poor Scola badly chipped two of his front teeth during Argentina's victory over New Zealand in the last 16.
"It's a pity but I guess when one plays in a tournament like this one, you have to be prepared for anything, we are all used to contact and so is Scola,"
said Argentina team-mate Manu Ginobili.
Scola battled hard and contributed 10 points while hauling down eight rebounds as his team won for their sixth time in Japan.
The Tau Ceramica star would have preferred a T-shirt as a souvenir to remember that game. As it is, for the first time in his career, the stunned Scola walked off the court holding pieces of his teeth.
The stakes are so high at the FIBA World Championship that other players have suffered knocks as well.
Nikos Zisis of Greece had only just finished his celebrations after nailing a three-pointer at the buzzer against Australia when Brazil brought him down to earth.
An accidental elbow from Brazilian center Anderson Varejao in the Group C encounter left the handsome Zisis with three broken bones in his face and a long stay in the hospital while his team-mates traveled to Saitama for the final round.
Spain's Rudy Fernandez got hit in the Adam's Apple while Italy's Marco Belinelli had his shirt ripped off during his team's surprising triumph against Slovenia.
It's physical all right, Team USA captain Dwyane Wade got scratched in the eye by an opponent during his team's triumph over Germany in the quarter-finals.
"It was such a quick hit, I didn't even get to see it," said Wade, who earlier this summer led the Miami Heat to the NBA title.
Towering Chinese center Yao Ming got to see plenty from Sofoklis Schortsanitis in the knock-out round when he was steam-rolled by the young Greek center on a two-handed dunk by Sofo.
"In the second round it's a different ball game, it's more physical, there's more body contact and there's a different mind set," said Yao.
Sofo was not intimidated by the Houston Rockets superstar and used all of his 125kg wisely.
"I'm big but I know how to use my body," he said.
I'm sure there will be a few more tumbles and collisions before the gold medal is won.