Baynes to play in Australia year after spinal injury

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A year after a freak fall at the Tokyo Olympics left him hospitalized for months and derailed his career, NBA veteran center Aron Baynes has agreed to return to basketball with the Brisbane Bullets, agent Daniel Moldovan told ESPN.

It’s a two-year deal to join the NBL side but has a provision that would allow Baynes to leave and return to the NBA.

Baynes worked out for teams in Las Vegas several weeks ago, just six months after resuming playing following a grueling rehabilitation from a spinal injury that initially left him unable to walk. He fell while running to the locker room during the Australian national team’s game against Italy last July 28. He spent the next two months in hospitals in Japan and Australia before being able to return home and didn’t pick up a basketball until January.

Baynes, 35, had offers from teams in both Europe and China, but those deals wouldn’t have allowed an out to return to the NBA, which is his goal after showing his recovery in Australia. The NBL season ends in February.

Baynes has played nine years in the NBA, winning a title with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014. He last played for the Toronto Raptors in the 2020-21 season, averaging 6.1 points and 5.2 rebounds.

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