Landale hurt as Boomers crush South Sudan in World Cup warmup

MELBOURNE -- Jock Landale has been all but ruled out of the Australian Boomers' 2023 FIBA World Cup campaign, delivering a significant blow to a team eyeing a second straight medal finish at a major international tournament.

Landale, the Boomers' starting centre, suffered a left ankle injury midway through the first quarter of Australia's warmup game vs. South Sudan in Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena, with head coach Brian Goorjian working with the assumption that the big-man won't be available for the remainder of their World Cup campaign.

"Telling the truth here, he's not getting on the plane with us," Goorjian said postgame.

"He's gonna have an MRI. It didn't look great, so they're gonna deal with that here; we're gonna travel with the 12 we've got now and prepare. I'm on the mindset right now as if we don't have him."

Landale came into Thursday night's game coming off a right ankle injury, but turned his left ankle after landing on the foot of Marial Shayok in the first period. He immediately clutched his ankle in pain, before hobbling straight to the locker room, unable to put significant pressure on his left foot.

The Boomers went on to win the game 88-67.

The injury comes the night before the Boomers were scheduled to travel to Tokyo, Japan for a warmup game against France on August 20. The team had planned to bring a 13-man squad to Tokyo, with Jack White being on the outside looking in on the final 12-man team. White will now be part of the final team, Goorjian said, with Landale no longer travelling with the group.

"We planned on taking Jack regardless of tonight, still not seeing where Chris (Goulding) is at," Goorjian said.

"Jack White has been right on the cusp of this thing and has been huge for us, and there's a quality piece there. I'm not comfortable with some of these guys that have not played at all. Thank goodness he's here, he's played in all of this, and that we went down the road that we went, and he's a very helpful piece; he's multi-purpose and, if we're gonna play that small ball and switch, he's another really important piece."

Frontcourt depth had been one of Australia's question marks going into the World Cup -- which takes place across three Asian countries from August 25 to September 10 -- so Landale's injury puts the Boomers at even more of a disadvantage going into the tournament.

Duop Reath has taken Landale's place in the starting lineup over the course of the Boomers' warmup games, while Nick Kay and Xavier Cooks have also seen minutes at the centre spot.

The Boomers have a warm game against France on August 20 in Tokyo, before traveling to Okinawa for a final exhibition game against Georgia, ahead of the start of the World Cup.