While his Boomers teammates were in Wellington preparing for their final Olympic qualifying clash with New Zealand, Andrew Bogut was iced-up and bed-ridden in Melbourne.
The pain he felt after game one was severe, but missing out on booking a ticket to Brazil with the Australian men’s basketball team would be worse.
He jumped on a plane Monday evening, arrived at the team hotel after midnight on Tuesday, then squeezed in some sleep before breakfast and a final training session at TSB Arena.
Barely 20 hours after landing, he was on court for tip-off.
“I didn’t make the first flight for obvious reasons – I was stuck in bed on an ice pack,” he said.
“I got a lot of help from physios and masseuses and I was pretty satisfied that I could get on the plane the next day and come out – a little tired, but I felt alright.”
The NBA championship winner played almost 20 minutes and proved as influential as ever both in attack and defence – adding 10 points and 10 rebounds in the 89-79 victory.
The win gave the Boomers a 2-0 lead in the Oceania series and direct entry to the 2016 Olympics.
Bogut downplayed his plight – labelling it nothing more than a few “little hiccups”.
“You don’t want to use injury as an excuse,” the 30-year-old said.
“You take enough pills and stuff, you end up getting there.
“It worked out alright, I felt pretty good.
“Tomorrow morning won’t be as good, but we got the job done and we’re going to the Olympics.”
Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis said post-match he couldn’t overstate the enormity of Bogut’s feat.
“He could’ve easily said ‘look, (my body) is just too sore – I’m not going to play’, but it meant something for him to be part of the Boomers’ program,” Lemanis said.
Matthew Dellavedova, his nemisis in the NBA Finals, said he was an inspiration to the team.
“It definitely fires up the boys because he’s putting his body on the line,” Dellavedova said.
“Especially early on, getting a few buckets and blocks and to start the second half the way he did, gave us an emotional boost.”
Fellow NBA point guard Patty Mills, who himself overcame ongoing issues with his shoulder to star in the series, was also full of admiration for Bogut’s effort.
“It’s the perfect example of what commitment he has and the guys have to this program and how much playing for you country means,” Mills told AAP.
“He’s an experienced veteran, he’s a leader and to see that from him it trickles down to everyone else.”