It was a busy morning for Argentine basketball. First, it was time to deal with Manu's stress fracture and the possibility of him representing Argentina in the FIBA World Cup.
The Argentine national team Doctor Diego Grippo said on a press conference today that the results of Manu's MRI were good and they signaled a way for them to work going forward, but were not conclusive. He seemed optimistic and said he doesn't expect further testing to take place. He believes Manu can play and, obviously, Manu wants to play. But Grippo said the results are now going to San Antonio for the team doctors to take a look. And it's now on the Spurs' hands whether Manu plays or not.
It's been reported that the Spurs have decision-making power in the situation and Grippo seemed to confirm that with his words. Argentine journalists, for their part, have reported that Manu has Pop's word that if he's healthy enough, the team will let him play. But who decides what's healthy enough? At no point did Grippo said he was fully recovered.
This is complete speculation on my part at this point but if the injury is still there - and the language Grippo used seems to indicate that's the case - I fully expect the Spurs to force Manu to sit out the tournament.
We should have news on the decision soon.
That's surprisingly the least dramatic aspect of the whole Manu/national team situation. As we told you, there is a significant crisis within the Argentine National Association (CABB), as the players are asking for "deep changes" within the leadership. On a press conference held this noon in which Manu and Scola did all of the talking, players aired their grievances with the current leadership, whose inaction during the previous regime they consider makes them at least indirectly responsible for the crippling mismanagement that took place for years and led to financial and political problems. The new leadership fired back accusing the players of staging a coup. Things are getting messy and there is no end in sight.
At one point the players threatened to not play the World Cup in protest and that seemed like a real possibility until today. During the press conference the players said they believe in the Secretary of Sports to deliver on promises that were made and help deal with the crisis. They even trained today before addressing the press and are planning to continue with the preparation. They didn't completely rule out the possibility of sitting out the tournament but training is already underway and the insurance situation should be resolved soon. At least at this point it's safe to say there won't be a player boycott.
We will keep you updated when more information becomes available.