DONGGUAN, CHINA – Star forward Rui Hachimura will not play in Japan’s consolation games against New Zealand and Montenegro in order to rest his weary body, the Japan Basketball Association announced on Friday.
A decision was made regarding Hachimura after discussions between the JBA and the Washington Wizards, according to a news release issued by the sport’s governing body in Japan.
The news release stated that Hachimura, who was chosen by the Wizards in the first round of June’s 2019 NBA Draft, had originally been expected to compete through the tournament. But he’s experienced some knee pain, while also coping with fatigue during the World Cup.
The news release cited the fact that the 21-year-old has played extensively in recent months, including the NCAA season while at Gonzaga University, the NBA Summer League in July and other events before the NBA Draft.
The JBA and the Wizards decided it would be best for Hachimura to rest before the Wizards’ upcoming training camp, which starts in three weeks.
“I love Team Japan. The decision was very difficult to make for the Wizards, the Japan team and myself,” Hachimura said in the statement. “We are watching my physical condition. But I believe that the Wizards and Japan team will provide me the best possible support so that I will be in the best condition toward the NBA season and 2020 Tokyo Olympics.”
It’s unclear if Hachimura will continue to stay with the team in China.
He competed in all three Group E contests at the World Cup, averaging 13.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
He was held to four points in 24-plus minutes against the United States in Japan’s final first-round game in Shanghai on Thursday night.
Japan, which is competing in its first World Cup in 13 years, dropped all three Group E games and will next play in the qualification round.
Japan faces the Tall Blacks and Montenegro, both at 4:30 p.m. (JST) on Saturday and Monday, respectively, at Dongguan Basketball Center.