The saga is over. Manu announced he is out of the World Cup via his Twitter account:
Al final no voy a estar en España. Lo lamento mucho. No quería terminar así. Pronto explicaré cómo fue todo en mi columna en LN.— Manu Ginobili (@manuginobili) julio 31, 2014
I won't be able to play the World Cup. I'm very sorry. I didn't want it to end like this. I'll explain things in my La Nacion column.
For the few that aren't caught up, a stress fracture on Manu's fibula was discovered during an exit physical. The Spurs' doctors estimated the recovery time to be eight weeks, which would prevent Manu from playing in Spain. Manu wasn't convinced so he sought out a second opinion from an independent doctor, who was more optimistic and set the timetabe at six weeks. Ginobili talked things over with the Spurs' brass and all parties agreed he would have the tests redone in four weeks and they would make a decision then, after seeing how the injury was progressing.
The new tests showed the injury was healing nicely but couldn't conclusively prove it was completely healed. The national team's doctor was confident Manu was going to be able to heal in time but the Spurs didn't agree, allegedly citing the bruising surrounding the injury as their cause for concern. At this point Manu hadn't taken part in any impact work outs, so it was unclear if he was ready to go or not, but he didn't feel pain, so he felt confident in his ability to play.
Soon after the national team sent the test results to San Antonio, R.C. Buford reportedly sent Menu an email asking him to sit out the World Cup citing their concerns about a him aggravating the injury. Multiple reporters mentioned that Buford had mentioned off the record on Summer League that the team was determined to avoid a repeat of the 2008 situation, in which Manu played injured and had to have surgery. The Spurs were not going to let Manu play and were ready to invoke a clause that would allow them to force Manu to sit the tournament out.
Manu initially resisted the decision and rumors in the Argentine press suggested he was going to have the tests redone once again as a last ditch attempt to convince the Spurs that he was healing. But today, both Manu and the Argentine National Association's official Twitter account announced he was out.
The Spurs didn't authorize Manu Ginobili to play in the World Cup, exercising a clause FIBA and the NBA have in place for injuries.
This announcement puts an end to an impossible situation between a team that wanted to look out for its best interest and a player that wanted to represent his country one last time. There are no villains here; just conflicting interests and a party with the power to dictate the outcome. Because this is Manu -- with all that means for Spurs history -- the situation was beyond unfortunate. All we can hope for is that the disagreement hasn't harmed the relationship between the player and the franchise too badly.
Ginobili will have the full summer off and should be completely healthy to start training camp in September.
The World Cup starts on August 30 and will feature Team USA along with the elite of FIBA basketball. Spurs players Aron Baynes, Boris Diaw and Tiago Splitter will be there. We'll have coverage of the tournament when it starts.