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Basketball San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills could replace injured Dante Exum for Australia

Australia coach Andrej Lemanis hinted at a possible last-minute call-up for Patty Mills after Dante Exum's knee injury.

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play (Omni Sports)

Australia coach Andrej Lemanis hinted at a possible last-minute call-up for Patty Mills after Dante Exum's knee injury.

The national team staff had previously balked at the idea of including Mills in the fold for Olympic qualification, with shoulder rehabilitation preventing the San Antonio Spurs guard from joining the team's European training camp.

The sudden nature of Exum's injury - occurring on a non-contact play during the team's final warm-up game in Slovenia - and the complications associated with travel, however, have left the coaching staff with scarce options on the replacement front.

Lemanis would not entirely rule out the prospect of carrying the current crop of 11 players in the FIBA Oceania Championship opener against New Zealand on August 15.

"We just need to work through exactly what that looks like and [again] the caveat always is, what"s in the best interest of the team? This group has certainly - as we"ve all alluded to - spent time together building a synergy, and a chemistry, and we"re really comfortable with where we"re at as a group of 11," Lemanis said.

"Adding a piece to that needs to obviously add value as opposed to detract from the value, so we"ll need to work through that."

Mills" status, familiarity with the system, and natural fit with the roster place him on a pedestal.

But Lemanis paused when asked about the idea of him answering the call.

"The reality is at the moment, we have 11 guys, we"re allowed to play with 12, anyone that we bring in will not have participated in the European tour with us, so we just need to assess if that"s what in our best interests," he said.

We"ve reached out to [Mills], but we haven"t been able to connect as yet. It"s been a 30-hour flight so it"s been difficult communicating. Once we finish up here we"ll see what happens.

Matthew Dellavedova looms as the heir apparent at the lead guard position, though it remains to be seen how comfortable the coaching staff are with their backcourt depth following Exum"s withdrawal.

Bringing somebody else in, Patty is a logical fit for us, given he knows the Boomers. He"s obviously a very good player, and so we"ll just work through that process, said Lemanis.

I like to have just the group. Bringing somebody in who doesn"t know the system is going to be more disruptive than anything else, and sometimes - 12 bodies versus 11 bodies - you make those decisions.

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