Saturday, July 19, 2008

Express News: No surprise: Spurs' Ginobili to play in Beijing
No surprise: Spurs' Ginobili to play in Beijing
Mike Monroe

Confirming what the Spurs have felt certain would be the case, the Argentine Olympic Committee on Friday named Manu Ginobili one of the 12 players who will try to defend the basketball title Argentina captured in 2004.

Ginobili injured his left ankle early in the Spurs’ playoff run, jamming it badly during the first-round series against the Phoenix Suns. He had assured the Spurs he would only play in the Olympic basketball tournament, scheduled to begin Aug. 10 in Beijing, if he no longer experienced pain and swelling in the ankle.

Since returning to Argentina early this month, Ginobili has kept in daily contact with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, assuring him he has had “zero pain” in the ankle, which the Spurs re-examined on June 19.

The Associated Press reported that Ginobili has been playing more, without incident, in Team Argentina practices.

“I had been playing more the last few days and it had improved,” he told the wire service. “It feels great, and that makes me very happy.”

The members of the team were announced after a 92-74 victory over Mexico in an exhibition in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Neither Ginobili nor Spurs center Fabricio Oberto, who has been bothered by a sore calf, played in the game.

Oberto, the starting center on the gold medal winning team in Athens, is also on the Argentine roster.

Argentina opens Olympic play against Lithuania. Also in Group A are Australia, Iran and Russia, along with one of three teams advancing from a qualifying tournament in Athens, Greece.

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