When watching Dario Saric play for Croatia at the 2014 FIBA World Cup, Philadelphia 76ers fans have to be thinking one thing: “How long will we have to wait for this?” Come on, Sam Hinkie, get Dario over here now.
As if his sweet all-around game wasn’t enough, Saric is showing early in the tournament in Sevilla that there is no way you can question his heart.The 20-year-old picked up an elbow to the mouth on defense in the third quarter of Croatia’s 90-85 win over Argentina. As a result, Saric was needing to catch his teeth. Saric had his six upper front teeth – actually implants – knocked out and caught five of them in his hands.
This might faze a guy – actually, how could it not? But not Dario.
Saric quickly handed them over to someone on the Croatian bench and ran forward to offense, signalling to Croatian head coach Jasmin Repesa that he needed to be subbed out.
What to do now? Well, Saric attempted but missed a three-pointer and then played the following defensive possession, waiting until the next stoppage in play to finally come out – and see what the Croatian medical staff could make of his situation.After the game, which started at 1:30 p.m. local time on Sunday, Saric and the team were calling around Sevilla for a dentist to possibly get the implants re-inserted. The earliest possible appointment was Monday morning – but that meant Saric wouldn’t be able to play against Senegal. And for a fighter like Dario, that was not an option.
So, Saric will be heading to a dentist in Sevilla later Monday to have five of the six implants put back into his mouth.
Only five? What about the sixth?
Well, it’s unclear exactly what happened to it. The Croatia press officer said Saric may have kicked it aside.
Saric, himself, definitely wasn’t kicked aside by the missing teeth, as he collected 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting to go with six rebounds, four assists and three steals against Senegal. Unfortunately for Croatia, it wasn’t enough in the 77-75 losing effort.
Still, 76ers fans were left happy, dreaming of days of drinking to Dario.