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World Cup 2023: Luka Dončić and Slovenia to meet Montenegro in the midst of adversity

Luka Dončić and Slovenia will meet Montenegro in Ljubljana Tuesday after severe flooding hit the country last week and injuries plague the team

Greece v Slovenia - International Friendly Photo by Stefanos Kyriazis/NurPhoto via Getty Images

This third preparation game in Slovenia against Montenegro will be scarred and affected by the aftermath of the severe flooding, which hit Slovenia last week. But not only that, the team is plagued by injuries, leaving it very thin on the wing and center positions after Vlatko Čančar (Denver Nuggets) had to leave the prep game against Greece Friday with an ACL tear.

“I was very much looking forward to my first appearance at the World Cup, but fate unfortunately got in the way of my plans,” Čančar said Sunday.

This injury, however, is just the latest one to hit Slovenia. Luka Doncic had to exit the same game in the third quarter, limping off the court. Luckily, he did not sustain a serious injury and remained out as a precaution, and looks to lead the team against Montenegro as of now. Before that - in June - Edo Muric, who was the captain of the team, vibes guy and leader, tore his ACL as well, forcing him to miss the World Cup.

Montenegro, August 8th, in Ljubljana, Slovenia, 6.00 pm local time, 11:00 am CST

With almost no big men left, the hope is that Mike Tobey, who joined the team Friday but is not expected to play against Montenegro, is able to cover for the missing pieces. It’s a tall order for the American big man, (who’s a naturalized Slovenian) however, but his chemistry with Luka Doncic has always been good, leaving some hope for the team as they head to Spain after meeting Montenegro.

With a severe lack of big men and wings, Luka Doncic may be forced to play the three or four against Montenegro. Slovenia has a number of smaller guards, like Prepelic who has been able to run the offense at a high level, when Luka’s been out. But Luka’s size and ability to pretty much play positions one-five if he needs to, could help this team in the paint and it may be something to watch for in this game.

How to watch: FIBA Courtside app.

Spain, August 11th, in Malaga, Spain, TBA

The team will travel to Spain and play two games here. The EuroBasket Champions 2022 will be a good test for the Slovenian team ahead of the World Cup.

USA, August 12th, in Malaga, Spain, TBA

Slovenia will face Team USA, one of the favorites to win it all. Another great test.

Japan, August 19th, in Tokyo, Japan, TBA

The last test will be against Japan after the long trip East.

Luka Dončić and the Slovenian national team are playing Team USA, Montenegro, Greece, Spain and Japan as part of their preparation for the FIBA World Cup 2023.

The first group stage for the World Cup starts August 25th with Slovenia playing in Group F in Okinawa, Japan, and face Cape Verde, Georgia, and Venezuela.

If Slovenia advances to the Second Round, it will meet the best two teams from Group E, consisting of Germany, Finland, Australia, and one of the host nations, Japan.