EUROBASKET WOMEN QUALIFIERS
|Claudia Pop suffered a knee injury and will be out of Romania's Qualification Round campaign|
Romania already had a huge challenge this summer in their EuroBasket Women qualifying campaign with games against Spain, Sweden, Bulgaria and Germany.
Now they will have to go into battle in Group D without two key players because ACL injuries.
Having already lost veteran Cras Basket Taranto center Maria Pascalau in early March, Romanian basketball fans watched as 21-year-old Claudia Pop of CSM Satu Mare joined her on the injured list last week.
Pop, who had been averaging more than 15 points per game this season, suffered her knee injury almost immediately after the start of Satu Mare's clash with ICIM Arad during the play-off semi-finals.
The Romanian Basketball Federation announced on their website: "Claudia has ruptured her interior cruciate ligament and will be unavailable for at least six months.
"Therefore, the Romanian national team has lost another valuable player ahead of its EuroBasket 2013 qualifying campaign..."
The federation has not given up hope of making it to France for the Final Round, saying: "Under these conditions, the mission of the senior national team this summer is becoming more difficult but not impossible."
In Romania's Division A campaign one year ago, 1.96m Pascalau averaged 12.7 points and 3.7 rebounds.
Pop, a 1.86m forward, played more than 13 minutes per game last summer and averaged 3.8 points and 2.1 rebounds.
The Romanians are attempting to reach the Final Round for the first time since 2007, when they played at the EuroBasket Women in Italy and lost all three of their games.
Pascalau was the leading player in that side, averaging 17 points and eight rebounds per game.
The sides that finish first and second in each of the five Qualifcation Round groups will make it to France.