Spurs’ Splitter gets insurance, will play for Brazil

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Suddenly NBA players are like a lot of Americans — without health insurance.

Which is a big problem for the international players who want to help their teams qualify for the 2012 London Olympics through a series of FIBA Tournaments around the globe. Insurance doesn’t just have to cover treatment and rehab of an injury, there is the money owed on contracts and team issues that have to be covered in these policies. They are not cheap.

But Brazil’s basketball federation has stepped up to insure San Antonio’s Tiago Splitter, according to the Spurs blog at the Express-News.

He will play for the team in a series of exhibitions (including one against Team USA, which is filled with college players this summer), then in the FIBA Americas tournament in Argentina that will determine the Olympic qualifiers from the Western Hemisphere. (The USA has already qualified by winning last summer’s World Championships in Turkey — thank you Kevin Durant.)

The Spurs also have Tony Parker (France) and Manu Ginobili (Argentina) dealing with the insurance issue. And there are numerous other players on other teams in the same boat. The solution is going to have to come from the national federations, but in the case of a team like France with six NBA players it can get very, very expensive.