Filipino basketball star Kai Sotto did not play in Tuesday’s Gilas Pilipinas practice due to a back injury from the NBA Summer League. Is this a sign his NBA dreams could be over?
The 7-foot-3 center only took shots after practice ended. He also attended a pep rally earlier where Jordan Clarkson committed to playing for Gilas. Clarkson may replace Justin Brownlee as the naturalized player for the Philippines.
Sotto is expected to still travel with Gilas to play exhibition games in China soon. But will he fully recover from his back injury? At only 20 years old, Sotto was seen as the future of Philippine basketball. Now his career is in doubt.
Back injures ended NBA careers
Back injuries have ended NBA careers before. Larry Bird and Tracy McGrady are examples of stars who declined rapidly due to back problems. Their injuries limited their play early in their 30s.
At the same time, others like Dwight Howard have come back strong from back surgeries. He continued as an All-Star center for many years after back surgery in 2012.
Only time will tell if Sotto can recover to reach his full potential. Gilas fans hope this injury is just a minor setback. Sotto has the talent to still make the NBA and represent the Philippines on the world stage. But his back must heal first before his promising career can continue.
Here is a continuation of the article focusing on Sotto’s past accomplishments with the Philippine team:
Sotto’s History of Representing the Philippines
The 7-foot-3 Sotto has been a anchor for the Philippines in youth competitions. He first suited up for the national team at FIBA Under-16 Asian Championship in 2018 at just 15 years old. Sotto led the tournament in scoring with 24.8 points per game.
At the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup, Sotto poured in 11.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. He had a breakout performance with 22 points and 20 rebounds against New Zealand.
Prior to his back injury, Sotto was expected to be a key contributor for the senior Gilas team. Can he regain his past production for the Philippine squad?
What’s Next for the Philippine Giant?
Sotto has shown immense potential early in his career. But his recent back troubles put his future in doubt.
Will rest and rehabilitation allow Sotto to regain his towering presence on the court? Can the young star help lead Gilas to glory in the upcoming World Cup and Asian Games?
The Philippines hopes Sotto’s injury is minor. With continued development, the sky is the limit for Kai’s towering talent. He remains integral to the national team’s chances now and for years to come. But his health will determine if Sotto can fulfill his promising potential.