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Injured Australian Boomers star Aron Baynes ruled out for entire NBA season

Star Australian centre Aron Baynes hasn’t given up hope of continuing his NBA career despite being ruled out for the entire season with a serious neck injury.

Baynes suffered serious nerve damage after slipping in the change rooms during the Boomers’ group stage win over Italy at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 34-year-old had taken himself off the court due to an injury, but it was the slip in the change rooms that caused the most serious damage.

Baynes was hospitalised for the remainder of the Olympics campaign and had to be stretchered off the plane upon returning to Australia.

The former Boston and Phoenix big man had already been waived by his NBA team Toronto, but his hopes of landing a deal elsewhere were thwarted by the injury.

His manager Daniel Moldovan has confirmed Baynes will sit out the entire 2021/22 NBA campaign to focus on his recovery, with the star Australian hopeful of making a return to the court the following season.

Mystery has surrounded the exact nature of the injury and just how limited Baynes is in his day-to-day life.

Boomers coach Brian Goorjian has tried to reach out to Baynes since the Olympics without any luck and several Boomers teammates have also experienced the same thing.

Goorjian visited Baynes in hospital during the Olympics, but he is desperate to speak to the veteran again to check on his welfare.

“When I got back (from the Olympics) I gave it a couple of days and I messaged him, and then messaged him again, and then messaged his wife,” Goorjian told AAP.

“I just wanted him to know we care about him and if basketball is over, we’re still thinking of him.

“But you get to a point and say “’well maybe it’s an emotional time for him now and he wants space.

“So I’ve given it space. I want to be loyal to him and I want to support him.

“I have been thinking about him. I hope he’s on the mend and that he comes back from it. Hopefully I get to speak to him soon.”

The Boomers found a way to cover for Baynes on the way to winning a historic bronze medal in Tokyo.

Players FaceTimed with Baynes in the change rooms afterwards to make sure the veteran was included in the celebrations.

Baynes struggled in his debut season at Toronto last season, averaging just 6.1 points per game from his 53 appearances.

A year earlier he had starred for Phoenix, averaging a career-high 11.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.

His best performance came in a 127-117 win over Portland, when he sunk nine three-pointers on the way to a 37-point haul and also tallied 16 rebounds and two blocks.

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