After a viral photo showed off his shocking weight loss, one recent draft pick from the Golden State Warriors appears to be on the mend.
Nico Mannion, a second-round pick in 2020 who recently signed with Virtus Bologna of Italy’s Serie A for next season, ran into a major setback when he played for the Italian men’s national basketball team at the Toyko Olympics. Hit with an ailment that led to some dramatic changes to his body, Mannion looks to be back on track now.
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Mannion Suffers Scary Weight Loss
As Ezra Amacher of SB Nation’s Arizona Desert Storm reported, Mannion suffered an intestinal infection during the Olympics that kept him out of training camp for Virtus and unable to play in the preseason. Mannion’s condition garnered some viral attention when a photo showed him with a noticeably smaller frame, watching on as his team practiced.
Close to a week after the photo first surfaced, there are signs that Mannion is back on track. Video shared this week showed him back at practice doing pushups. Davide Chinellato, editor for the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, posted the video on Twitter and noted that Mannion lost 17 pounds during his ordeal.
Mannion may have already regained much of what he lost. Anthony Slater of The Athletic noted that Mannion worked with medical specialists in Italy and was able to put the weight back on.
“Former Warriors guard Nico Mannion contracted a severe intestinal infection overseas, but has made a full recovery under care of Italian specialists at Sant’Orsola Hospital in Bologna, per source,” Slater tweeted. “He’s regained 17 of the pounds lost due to infection and begun individual training.”
Mannion could still have more work before he can return to the court. Virtus head coach Sergio Scariolo told EuroHoops.net that the team was searching for a replacement to start the season at the end of September.
Mannion Could Eventually Return to Warriors
While Mannion’s immediate future will be in Italy’s top basketball league, the 20-year-old has made it clear that he plans to be back in the NBA. The Warriors retain his rights as a restricted free agent if he does come back to the league. Mannion split time between Golden State and the team’s G League affiliate in Santa Cruz last season, appearing in 30 games in the NBA and averaging 4.1 points and 2.3 assists in 12.1 minutes per game.
As Brady Klopfer of SB Nation’s Golden State of Mind noted, moving to Italy appeared to be a good decision as Mannion needs more time to develop and minutes would be difficult to find in the Warriors rotation.
“From Golden State’s perspective, they don’t have to try and find space on the roster for another project, with James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, and Moses Moody already occupying spots,” he wrote. “They’re fans of Mannion’s potential — he was projected by many to be a lottery pick going into the 2019-20 college season — and Steve Kerr likes him a lot. But he’s not ready to contribute to a contending team yet, so now the Dubs get to wait and see if he can develop into a quality player before burning a roster spot on him.”