International Hoops: Timberwolves President put the kibosh on Juancho Hernangomez’s Olympic participation

Juancho Hernangomez was ruled out of the Olympics almost in the eleventh hour.

By Antonis Stroggylakis & Alex Madrid at

Spanish Basketball Federation president Jorge Garbajosa pointed at Minnesota Timberwolvespresident Gersson Rosas as the person who decided that Juancho Hernangomez won’t play in the Olympic Games. He mentioned that no doctor was involved in the decision.

“Juancho wants to play in the Olympic Games, but Juancho won’t be able to play,” Garbajosa said in a remote press conference from Tokyo. “We’ve had countless medical meetings and we’ve never received a ‘no’. We have a received a ‘yes’. We don’t have a problem with the Minnesota Timberwolves or the NBA. It’s a problem of people – not medical personnel – who have personally decided that Juancho couldn’t play. I’m talking about their president of basketball operations [Gersson Rosas].”

Hernangomez became cleared to play with the Spanish national team and traveled to Tokyo after it was decided that he has sufficiently rehabilitated a shoulder injury (grade 4-5 acromioclavicular dislocation) he suffered early in July. The Spanish Federation had then announced that the Timberwolves forward is ruled out of the Olympics, but his condition significantly improved over the following weeks.

During the national team’s trip to Las Vegas for some preparation games, Spain coach Sergio Scariolo said that Hernangomez is “progressing well” and that “the cooperation with the Timberwolves has been “great” before the match vs. USA.

“In 5 days in Las Vegas no doctor traveled to see the player,” Garbajosa said. “There was only a remote meeting with a physiotherapist (Erin Sierer) who asked Juancho Hernangómez for tests and ends up congratulating him on his recovery. Four hours before the game against USA, there was a meeting between the doctors of the national team and the doctors of the Timberwolves franchise who congratulated Juancho and the national team on the recovery.”

“The answer about whether Juancho could play was a ‘yes’ and that the next evaluation will be after the Olympics. From that moment until Minnesota told us that he won’t play, there were a series of facts that showed that the decision isn’t of medical nature. Even the Timberwolves coach congratulated Juancho for being in Tokyo. No one doubted that he could play.”

On Friday (23/7), Hernangómez participated in the opening ceremony and the Parade of Nations, together with the other Spanish Olympians. His older brother and fellow Spain player Willy Hernangómez posted photo of them on social media and the picture was also shared by by the Timberwolves.

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