A trip to the Tokyo Olympics was apparently not too kind for former Golden State Warriors guard Nico Mannion, who reportedly acquired an infection during the international tournament that now has him looking rather frail.
Mannion, a 2020 second-round draft pick for the Warriors, signed with Virtus Bologna of Italy’s Serie A for next season after competing for the Italian team at the summer Olympics. But Mannion’s season has been thrown off track due to an intestinal infection led to some dramatic weight loss.
The latest Warriors news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Warriors newsletter here!
Mannion Suffers Effects of Infection
The 20-year-old guard’s condition captured some viral interest this week after a picture taken at a team practice showed his already slight frame looking noticeably thinner. The image sparked some concern among Warriors fans.
As Ezra Amacher of SB Nation’s Arizona Desert Storm noted, the illness prevented Mannion from participating in training camp for Virtus and kept him out of the team’s first preseason game on Friday. Virtus head coach Sergio Scariolo hinted that Mannion could miss some time, telling EuroHoops.net that they will need a replacement for the start of the season.
“Mannion won’t be there at the start of the championship and so we need a player to avoid putting ‘squeezing’ the others,” Scariolo said. “We are looking on the market for an element to be included, a point guard who can also remain in the future. Because of that we focus on young people who can give something important, rather than a veteran addition.”
Mannion Could Return to NBA
Mannion has a potential path back to the NBA, with an out-clause after the first year of his contract with Virtus. If he does return, it would be with the Warriors, who maintain his restricted free agent rights. That appears to be the long-term plan, as Mannion’s agent, Bill Duffy, told NBA insider Jordan Schultz that the 20-year-old hopes to return to the NBA after winning a title in Italy.
Mannion appeared in 30 games for the Warriors last season, averaging 4.1 points and 2.3 assists in 12.1 minutes per game. As Wes Goldberg of the Mercury News noted in a year-end review of Mannion’s season, the Arizona product has the potential to be a solid contributor on the second unit, but needs to overcome his deficiencies first.
“His 34.2% shooting ranked last on the team and, with defenses sagging off of him, it made driving and kicking much more difficult, especially since he’s not an elite athlete. At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, Mannion is too small to be a high-level defender. Over the course of his rookie season, the only thing Mannion proved he could do was to take care of the ball (just one turnover per game), but he did not create for himself or others.”
It is not clear exactly when Mannion suffered his infection, but it did not appear to slow him during the Tokyo Olympics. He averaged 12.5 points and 4.5 assists per game in the Olympics, helping lead Italy to the quarter-finals where the team lost to eventual silver-medalist France.