Germany loses its connection with Franz Wagner out with an injury

Franz Wagner was rolling and keeping Germany level before an injury sank him and nearly sank Germany. (Photo by Marvin Ibo Guengoer - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images)
Franz Wagner was rolling and keeping Germany level before an injury sank him and nearly sank Germany. (Photo by Marvin Ibo Guengoer - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images) /

Germany never could catch their breath as they watched Montenegro trim their lead closer and closer. What looked like a blowout in the third quarter quickly deteriorated with Montenegro cutting the lead down to five before Germany extended back out.

Then in the final moments, it was suddenly three points. The only thing that saved them was an unsportsmanlike foul from Kendrick Perry that gave Germany free throws and the ball. That finally gave them the distance.

And maybe a sigh of relief.

But it was an ugly finish to advance to the EuroBasket quarterfinals with an 85-79 win over Montenegro. Germany can only feel fortunate to get out.

Now they have to worry about what comes next.

Franz Wagner left the game in the third quarter after landing on a defender’s foot on a three-pointer. He made all three free throws before exiting the game and not returning.

His absence was certainly felt even if it did not always feel like Germany was keeping him involved.

Franz Wagner left Germany’s win in the third quarter with an ankle injury. His absence was felt as Germany barely held on to advance.

Wagner finished the game with 14 points on 4-for-10 shooting. It was not his best game of EuroBasket as he missed some box out opportunities and committed some silly fouls in addition to some rough shots as Germany struggled to get through Montenegro’s 2-3 zone defense.

But Wagner was also a team-high +15 for the game. Germany led by 18 points when Wagner exited the game.

Montenegro was already making their run, cutting the deficit under 20 points after an easy start to the second half. But Germany was comfortably ahead.

After Wagner left, the offense struggled to get going. The team did not move the ball effectively and the pressure of the moment got to them. Certainly, Germany missed the extra attacker off the dribble and the extra shooter, two key elements to Germany’s attack throughout EuroBasket.

This is where Wagner is at his best though.

It is not always important that he scores a ton of points — although that certainly helps. Wagner is a connector. That was his biggest strength at Michigan as much as it was during his rookie season in Orlando.

He is someone who does not need many plays run for him to find his scoring and success. Although he should have more plays and more trust put in him. But he still makes a major impact.

It is as this connector that Wagner finds his most success. He will score in the gaps and whatever the defense gives him. And Wagner will find his pockets to score. That is what is amazing about him. Even if he is not always assertive when he gets the ball with a chance to attack.

Germany missed that throughout the second half as Montenegro made their comeback.

They missed his versatility on both ends of the floor to slow down Montenegro’s sudden attack. And they missed that secondary attacker as Dennis Schroder had to carry the offensive attacking load. Schroder led Germany with 22 points. But it was a slog to get there.

It should be clear exiting this game just how vital Wagner can be. He just makes life easier for everyone.

The Magic know that as well as anyone.

The Magic were simply better on the floor with Wagner out there. Even when Magic fans wanted more from Wagner individually, he still gave them a lot. It was not always just about his scoring or his field goal attempts.

What is crazy then is how Wagner still finds his shot attempts when it feels like he is not enough. He easily could have had more looks in this game too. But Germany was rolling even if Wagner was just a threat in the corners or a threat as an attacker to get to the foul line.

This is becoming the reality and norm for Wagner. He can make things happen even when he is not the focus.

That is the big thing Germany missed late in the game. They missed this player who can just settle the team down and be a secondary attacker. Germany just ground to a halt offensively in the end.

And the concern now is squarely on Wagner and his health.

The injury was the feared defender being in the shooter’s landing spot. It is something that is difficult to avoid no matter how much these leagues have worked to eliminate it with new rules.

Wagner walked off the injury some before taking his free throws. Then he left the bench for the locker room. His status is still unclear.

Just as it is unclear for Tuesday’s quarterfinal against Greece or the Czech Republic. At the very least, Wagner gets a second day to recover before his team plays in another elimination game.

For now, he is likely getting treatment and ice to see how bad it looks tomorrow. He will be going through treatment the next two days to see if he can play.

dark. Next. When Orlando wins a trophy

It is just a waiting game. And Germany knows they need him to find any success in this tournament.