SPORTS

Spanoulis pulls out of national team

Greece’s preparations for the 2011 European Championship in Lithuania have suffered a number of blows, the latest of which was learning about the absence of Vassilis Spanoulis.

The Olympiakos player on July 24 pulled out of the national team’s preparations for the tournament scheduled for August 31 to September 18 due to an adductor strain that had also troubled him in the last few months of the 2010-11 season.

In the next few days the Greece guard will undergo an operation that is set to keep him sidelined for about two months.

Spanoulis has been added to a long list of absentees for coach Ilias Zouros that also includes Dimitris Diamantidis, Thodoris Papaloukas, Costas Tsartsaris, Loukas Mavrokefalidis and possibly Nick Calathes, unless the treatment he is undergoing in the US has him ready in time for the tipoff.

The squad is currently in training at Karpenisi in central Greece, before starting with friendly games in Cyprus to gear up for the tournament in Lithuania.

Greece will face Italy, Israel and Russia in Cyprus on August 5-7, then play Poland, Bosnia and Italy again at Rimini, Italy on August 12-14. It will then travel to Bamberg, Germany, to play Turkey, Belgium and Germany, before hosting Bulgaria, Italy and Montenegro at the Acropolis tournament in Athens.