Former Spurs center Fabricio Oberto’s chances of playing for Argentina in the upcoming FIBA Americas tournament will hinge on a quick recovery from a recent hand injury.
Oberto sustained a fibrillar rupture on his left adductor muscle, a long muscle buried deep in the hand that adducts to the thumb, last week. After the injury, doctors plan to limit Oberto’s practice for about two weeks.
But Argentina coach Julio Lamas told FIBA.com that he for use in the FIBA tournament next month.
“I hope I can count on him for the tournament,” said Lamas, who plans keep Oberto on the 12-man roster even if he can’t play in early games of the tournament. “I’m not sure he will make it, though.”
Oberto, 36, returned to his hometown of Cordoba, Argentina, for recovery before returning to the team earlier this week.
The Argentina team will play an exhibition Thursday night in Buenos Aires against Venezuela before Lamas trims the roster to 12 players.
Oberto, a member of the Spurs 2007 NBA championship team, was an important member of the Argentina team that claimed the gold medal in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. And his absence from his current team would be a big loss, according to teammate Manu Ginobili.
“We need him,” Ginobili told FIBA.com.
But teammate Leonardo Gutiérrez expects Oberto to contribute to the team.
“Oberto will be part of the team,” Gutiérrez said. “He’s a key player and he has to be there even if he plays five, 10 or 15 minutes.”
A heart ailment cut short Oberto’s NBA career after he announced his retirement after five games with the Portland Trailblazers last season. He played with the Spurs from 2005-09.
Oberto worked hard to get back into playing shape and apparently can still help the Argentinian team. It would be a shame not to see him compete at the FIBA tournament because of his recent nagging injury.