Exum Injury Delivers Another Blow to Boomers

“Sometimes when you win, you really lose, and sometimes when you lose, you really win, and sometimes when you win or lose, you actually tie, and sometimes when you tie, you actually win or lose.” Gloria Clemente, White Men Can’t Jump.

The Aussie Boomers finally snapped their three-game European losing streak this morning but suffered a major blow with star guard Dante Exum injuring his left knee.

Exum was attempting a jump stop in the lane during the first half when his left knee buckled. He was immediately ushered back to the locker room and later emerged on crutches with his knee heavily strapped.

The youngster looked a forlorn figure on the bench for the rest of the game.

The Utah Jazz have released a statement this morning outlining that Exum will now head to Salt Lake City for further evaluation and treatment.

“Exum was initially treated on site and will now return to Salt Lake City for further medical evaluation by the Utah Jazz Medical Staff and official healthcare partner University of Utah Health Care,” the Jazz Injury Report states.

With Andrew Bogut and Brock Motum both sitting out with soreness, the Boomers actually played much better to secure a 66-51 win over Slovenia in their final game of their European tour.

While finishing around the rim was an issue at times, the Boomers shot much better from long range this morning, knocking down 11/22 threes.  They were also successful in improving their defensive efficiency and looking after the ball, finishing the game with 13 total turnovers.

“We needed to play defense and figure out how to score a little bit,” Assistant coach Luc Longley told 1116 SEN Melbounre radio post-game.

“Heading back to Melbourne we needed to have something that we felt better about. That’s why we’re over here playing a bunch of games, so that we can sort out the wrinkles and figure out how to play together.”

Ryan Broekhoff again led the way for Australia with 13 points including 4/7 threes while Chris Goulding scored 12 and Brad Newley scored 10.

Cameron Bairstow was also very active, finishing with 5 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocked shots.

“We had to shorten the rotations up and in some ways that made everybody’s roles clearer,” Longley said. “Sometimes with an ‘All-Star’ type of arrangement it’s hard to figure out who’s role is what, so tonight that was much clearer and that helped us.

“After tonight we’re a lot more comfortable. We’ve got a bit of a mini-camp in Melbourne to continue to work on it.  Putting it together tonight with our defense and playing the way we did we’re certainly a lot more confident.”

Longley was glowing in his praise for the play of Ryan Broekhoff, who didn’t miss a beat while being forced to play out of position at times this morning.

“The real bright light out of this whole trip has been Ryan Broekhoff.  He’s continued to be a beast. He played a little bit of the four tonight and still dominated.”

But the real story, of course, is the injury to Exum. It didn’t look good and given the immediate statement from the Jazz, the hopes of him participating in the Oceania Championships this month look dim.Exum entered this Boomers campaign after playing only one NBA Summer League game with the Jazz last month. The second-year point guard put up 20 points,  5 rebounds,  5 assists and threw only 1 turnover in that game against Boston, but injured his ankle during the fourth quarter.

He looked to have regained full health over the past few games with the Boomers, only to have that come crashing down in an instant while attacking the basket.

Longley was determined not to speak too openly about the injury.

“What can I say about Dante?… what I love about Dante is that it doesn’t fluster him, he goes back to work and figures it out,” he said.

“He’s a good guy to have around because he doesn’t drop his head.  He understands that it’s a process and that he’s part of it. He’ll find his way.”

If, as expected, Exum is forced to miss time, the obvious question becomes who will be brought in to replace him in the squad.  Patty Mills, of course, had previously made himself available for the games against New Zealand and will no doubt be raising his hand for inclusion.

Another option could potentially be Perth Wildcats guard Hugh Greenwood, who has previous Boomers experience, played recently under Andrej Lemanis at the World University Games and is currently in pre-season training in Western Australia.

Either way, what once looked to be a straight-forward path to Olympic qualification, has recently become a whole lot trickier for the Boomers.  No Joe Ingles… no Aron Baynes… Patty Mills on the outer… Andrew Bogut with a sore back… and Dante Exum out with a knee injury.

Buckle up, folks. This series against New Zealand is going to be a bumpy ride.




Article written by

I like to think that I bring the all-important little man’s perspective to the Downtown crew. The rim may be 10-feet high folks but the court, itself, is at ground level. My one season playing ball on the national scene was back in 2001/02, when I played the vital role of 4th-string PG as a member of the Victoria Titans. Go back and watch the tapes, I’m confident that only Patty Mills outranks me worldwide as an end-of-the-bench towel-waver. This experience, however, gives me the kind of an insight into pro hoops that can only be gained by spending time ‘behind the curtain’. These days I spend most of my spare time squeezing every last cent out of my League Pass subscription. And when I’m not playing, watching, writing about or podcasting about basketball, you’ll find me soundly outplaying all-comers at the fantasy version of the game. Safe to say that if I had a tattoo it would say ‘mum’. But if I had two tattoos, the second one would definitely be of a basketball. Follow me on twitter: @liam_santa

One Response

  1. James at |

    That injury does not look good - Jazz (and Dante) will be spewing.

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