For NBA owners — even during a lockout — this remains a frightening proposition: Their best players getting injured representing their country in international competitions.
So far through this summer of Olympic qualifying there have been some injuries but fortunately nothing major.
Now you can add the Timberwolves new No. 1 import Ricky Rubio to the list of guys who have been injured. He sprained his ankle Saturday in a game against Slovenia and sat out Sunday’s rematch, according to FIBA.com. He will be evaluated again in a few days, according to the report. Which means he should be fine when EuroBasket starts on Aug. 31, where Spain will be a favorite to win it all (the top two get spots in the 2012 Olympics tournament).
Also, Rudy Fernandez injured his right arm in the first half and sat out the second half of Sunday’s game for Spain. Fernandez is now part of the Mavericks, where owner Mark Cuban has long expressed concern about these international competitions and what they do to his players. And yes, Dirk Nowitzki is playing for Germany in EuroBasket.
The overseas game allows more contact and physical play than the NBA, so you can expect to see a few more.
The biggest injury of the tune-ups so far remains Omri Casspi, who tweaked his knee and likely will miss EuroBasket all together for Israel.
These injuries are especially big for NBA players during the lockout, as they have to get their own insurance. It’s also a concern for the countries’ basketball programs, which had to take out insurance against the contracts of those players in case they get injured and then cut by their NBA teams.
Of course, with an extended lockout everyone will have plenty of time to heal.