“I was sick in bed for 3 weeks. I was really scared when they wanted to do an MRI on my head” Omri Casspi opens up

Maccabi Tel Aviv tips off against CSKA Moscow at Yad Eliyahu on Tuesday at 21:05 Israel time as the Yellow & Blue look to try and make the most of their final ten Euroleague games and try to sneak into a playoff spot.

One of the players that will try and help Ioannis Sfairopoulos do that is Omri Casspi who just returned to action after being out for close to two months with a severe illness. The first Israeli in the NBA had been out for a year due to a knee injury and returned at the start of the winter to limited minutes and just as he started getting into the groove, a virus kept him out until last week. Casspi played a few minutes in Munich against Bayern last Thursday and a close to ten minutes on Saturday night versus Hapoel Eilat scoring 8 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists.

Omri Casspi: Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

“I feel a lot better and I went through a tough month and a half. The virus kept me in bed for a long time and the worst was about a couple of weeks ago when they wanted to do an MRI on my head which really scared me but thank God everything came out ok. You have to take the good with the bad and slowly but surely I’m getting back into the swing of things.”

Casspi also spoke about the frustration about not being able to play, “The most important thing for me is to be with my team and play. It was tough to watch them play and not being able to be with them. I had the minute restriction and then I was able to play more. It wasn’t pleasant but that is part of being a Maccabi Tel Aviv player.”

Omri Casspi – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Speaking about minutes restriction, Casspi went into details about how that played a part in his return to the game, “It’s a procedure that I have been working with the doctors on and the injury (knee) that I had is one of the worst an athlete can have and it has ended careers. It was at first 3-4 minutes 3-4 times a game and now it’s 7 minutes 3 times a game and that’s great. It’s tough mentally to go through the process and I spoke to NBA players in the United States as to how to be effective in those minutes and how to understand how to deal with it. Pressure, shoot, pass and everything to be as effective as possible. I feel more comfortable now.”

“I want to be positive and deal with things that I can control. But here I came back from practice and I was sick in bed for three weeks. Look at what happened in the NBA for me at various spots whether it was New Orleans, Memphis, Golden State with injuries, perhaps it was bad luck.”

Omri Casspi – Photo Credit Dov Halickman

The forward also spoke about Maccabi Tel Aviv’s rival CSKA Moscow and their all-star guard Mike James, “Mike is a talented player and we have to focus on him, but they have many good players. We still all believe that we can do it and make the playoffs. We are Maccabi and we want to play for our club and if there is still a chance we want to win as many games as we can and then see how it will end up.”

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