Timberwolves forward Juancho Hernangomez won't play for Spain in the Olympics as a result of a shoulder injury he suffered in an exhibition preparing for the games.
Hernangomez's availability for the Olympics has caused some controversy in recent days, as Spanish Basketball Federation president Jorge Garbajosa accused the Wolves and in particular President Gersson Rosas of keeping Hernangomez from playing in the games, according to reports, even though Spain claims the Wolves cleared Hernangomez to play. Hernangomez's brother Willy posted to Instagram "#freejuancho" in support of his brother playing for the Spanish team.
But Rosas released a statement on Wednesday saying the Wolves' medical staff determined Hernangomez still needs time to rehabilitate his injury and won't allow him to play in the games. The Wolves, as the NBA team that pays Hernangomez, can restrict his participation in the Olympics.
"We support our international players' decisions to play with their National teams and appreciate the passion of Juancho and the Spanish Federation to represent their country. Unfortunately, we are dealing with an active injury," Rosas said. "Based on our team physician's recommendation, Juancho needs time to recover from and rehabilitate his injury, and that timeline restricts Juancho's availability to participate in the Tokyo Olympics. The determined recovery plan is the best path forward to allow Juancho to heal properly."
A source said Spain could have challenged the Wolves' wishes through a process with FIBA but opted not to and replaced Hernangomez on the roster.
Hernangomez is one of multiple Wolves personnel who were selected to play in the Olympics. Ricky Rubio is also on the Spanish team. Josh Okogie is playing for Nigeria while assistant coach Pablo Prigioni and 2020 first-round pick Leandro Bolmaro are with Argentina.