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Czechs Wait On Satoransky

19 August 2014
EUROBASKET 2015 QR
9. Jiri Welsch (Czech Republic)
Jiri Welsch switched positions to help the Czech Republic during Satoransky's absence

The Czech Republic are preparing for the potentially crucial Wednesday clash against Georgia, in Group E of the EuroBasket 2015 2nd Qualifying Round, with a cloud hanging over their heads.

The participation of Tomas Satoransky, the Czech team's major star, is uncertain and will likely only be decided hours before the game.

Satoransky cut his elbow in a minor accident unrelated to basketball on Saturday, was forced to get a few stitches and was of course unable to take to the floor in last Sunday's encounter with Hungary.

"I was very nervous on the bench, I am used to playing in this kind of situations and I hated not being on the court," Satoransky said.

"It was a dramatic finale, so I did not sit quietly on the bench, but we made it."

The Czechs prevailed 66-63 over Hungary, as veteran Jiri Welsch moved to the point guard spot to fill Satoransky's shoes and ended up playing 36 minutes and contributing 12 points, seven assists and six rebounds.

"He played really great, especially if you consider that he spent the entire time since the start of preparations playing on the wing, so we won largely thanks to him," Satoransky said of Welsch.

"He organised the team excellently and also hit two out of two triples.

"I asked him whether the last time he did that had been while he was still playing at the Boston Celtics, so we're talking about a long time ago," the notoriously humorous Satoransky added teasingly about his 34-year-old team-mate.

Czech Republic head coach Ronen Ginzburg is of course hoping to have Satoransky at his disposal on Wednesday, but if that does not turn out to be the case, he knows that Welsch is ready to occupy the playmaker position once again.

"Most players my age shift positions upwards, moving from '2' to '3' or from '3' to '4', somehow I get to do it the other way around," Welsch said jokingly.

"Saty [Satoransky] is our best player and he is key to our team, we all believe that he will soon be fit again.

"We now need to beat Georgia on Wednesday if we are to finish our games on a positive record," the veteran added.

Satoransky is not only optimistic that he will play on Wednesday, but also hopes that the Czechs will have one more factor in their favour.

"We can hope that the Georgia we will come across will be a somewhat tired team, because it's going to be their third consecutive game on the road and all these trips take a toll physically," the 22-year-old FC Barcelona guard said.

"But of course this is not something we can rely on and we know that unless we are perfectly prepared and we go out and perform our best in this game, we are not going to win."

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