Serbian player loses kidney after taking elbow at FIBA World Cup


MANILA, Philippines — Boriša Simanić, a power forward on the Serbian national team, had surgery to remove a kidney after taking an elbow to the midsection during the FIBA World Cup, the Serbian Federation said Monday.

The injury happened in the final minutes of Serbia’s win over South Sudan last Wednesday. Simanić was elbowed by South Sudan’s Nuni Omot and immediately crumpled in pain. He was taken to the hospital and had emergency surgery that night.

Over the weekend, however, Simanić had complications. There was an issue finding his blood type, Serbian coach Svetislav Pesic said. Several Serbian players volunteered to give Simanić their blood.

On Sunday, Simanić underwent a second operation and had his kidney removed, according to a statement by Serbian national team doctor Dragan Radovanović. He is expected to remain hospitalized in Manila for some time to recover.

South Sudan’s Omot apologized for the play.

“My apologies, I didn’t mean to make no type of a dirty play. I hope you have a speedy recovery. I pray for you, you’ll be in my prayers,” Omot said after the incident. “I’m not a dirty player, I’ve never been a dirty player. From the bottom of my heart, I sincerely apologize to everyone that’s watching and to the player especially.”

Simanić, 25, has played on the Serbian national team since he was a teenager. He played on the Utah Jazz summer league team in 2022 and has played professionally in Serbian and Spain. He was a backup on the national team this summer, averaging six minutes a game.

Serbia plays Lithuania in the World Cup quarterfinals Tuesday. The team has placed Simanić’s No. 28 jersey on an empty seat on its bench in its past two games.

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