Well, I was wrong.
Manu is going to need surgery on his busted ankle (originally injured late last season) and, in horrible news for the Spurs, he will miss the start of the regular season.
The interesting thing about all of this is that the Spurs actually advised Manu not to play in the Olympics in order to rest his ankle. But he said no, wanting to defend the 2004 gold medal he won with Argentina.
Now, this of course brings up the huge question of should players who have a contract with an NBA team play in international competitions? After all, it doesn't seem that absurd for an NBA franchise to almost be allowed to totally run a guy's life that it has invested millions upon millions of guaranteed dollars in.
But there are other views too. Luckily, user dwyermaker on the site has the flip side for me:
Second, what kind of hypocritical statement is it to say that these specific players (Ginoblia, Yao, etc) should take a stand against the IOC, their National Coaches, and Olympic sports in general when it is the NBA that is responsible for their injuries in the first place and has the most ridiculously grueling schedule of any professional basketball organization. Look at the European teams' schedules and you may see a 45-50 game seasons, not even near the 82-game NBA regular season that leads into a potentially 28 game post-season. You wonder who is responsible for Yao's leg issues and Ginobli's ankle. I don't think you have to blame the coaches or heads of the Olympic committees from China and Argentina for that.
Not to mention that many players outside of the United States consider playing for their national teams a duty, not a privilege or even a right as the US media appears to portray it. It's odd to me that a country that has sent so many young men to Iraq and Afghanistan to fight and die for their country can not understand Yao playing the first 25 minutes of a game of basketball on a newly repaired ankle. If you don't think Yao knows the importance of these games to the image and future of China you are crazy. And if you think its the coaches and national olympic committees sending him back out on the court when the game is out of hand and he shouldn't be playing you are out of your mind. You don't get to lead your entire national team into your own national stadium carrying the flag of your country by worrying about what some fat cat owner of your NBA team in Texas thinks. Besides, do you really think that the Spurs and Rockets are going to lose money if Yao and Ginobli sit out the first half of the season to rehab injuries that occurred playing in the ridiculously grueling NBA schedule anyway? Please. Yes, they may not make AS MUCH money, but I doubt anyone associated with either of those organization will be applying to receive food stamps any time soon even in the worst case scenario.
The point is that the real problem for these Olympic basketball athletes is not the IOC, their nation's leaders, nor the coaches. The problem is the egomaniacal attitude of the NBA's owners, executives, and media members who think that every NBA player's allegiance should be to their NBA team first and God, country, and who knows what else second. Personally, I believe that Yao Ming, Manu Ginoblia, Andres Nocioni and every other basketball player playing his heart out in these Olympics while injured knows exactly where their loyalties lie and has been acting anything but inappropriately under the circumstances.
All I know for certain is this. The Spurs certainly can't be pleased with an aging roster that appears to finally be losing its grasp on its dominance. And when something like Ginobili's injury happens, you'll see plenty of excuses start to fly out of the bag in regards to who's responsible.
Surgery for Manu after aggravation [Fanhouse]