Former San Antonio Spurs player Fabricio Oberto endeared himself to Spurs fans with his hard-work on the court, rugged play, and desire to do anything it took for the Spurs to win. He proved that in the Spurs' march to the 2007 NBA title as he did the dirty work and with his tenacity.
However, in 2009 he was packaged in the Richard Jefferson trade and after being waived by the Pistons, he signed with the Wizards and would eventually find himself with the Portland Trail Blazers signing as a free agent. But just five games into the 2010-2011 NBA season, he announced his retirement from the NBA due to a heart condition.
But with hard work, and medical attention, Oberto found himself making his return to the court after a long absence for the 2011 Argentinian national team in a win over Venezuela in a friendly game this August. It was a testament to Oberto's work ethic and recovery but as soon as it looked like he would be playing the game he loves and representing his country, he suffered another setback which could keep him away from the court and according to head coach Julio Lamas, Oberto may not make the squad.
(Oberto) suffered a rupture on his left adductor muscle and doctors indicated him to stop practicing for 10 to 15 days.
“I hope I can count on him for the tournament,” said Lamas, who plans summoning Oberto to the FIBA Americas even if he can play only from the quarterfinal round.
“I’m not sure he will make it, though.”
Lamas will listen to the doctors before informing the final 12-player roster following a friendly game against Venezuela in Buenos Aires, on Thursday.
This is just tough news to swallow for not only Oberto but for Spurs fans who still follow his career. Add the fact how important it is to him to play for his country, and you can bet Oberto will do what he can to help Argentina make it to the 2012 London games.
His long-time friend and teammate Manu Ginobili knows how crucial it is for the team to see Oberto with the team.
“We need him,” said Ginobili.
However, there is good news. Oberto has started rehab and will return to the team this Wednesday and has a vote of confidence from teammate Leonardo Gutierrez who isn't playing for the team after he was diagnosed with a heart condition.
“Oberto will be part of the team,” said Gutiérrez, who became part of the coaching staff.
“He’s a key player and he has to be there even if he plays five, ten or fifteen minutes.”
I have had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Oberto and my hopes go out to him that he does recover in time to represent his country and do what he does best. He is such a down-to-Earth guy, will talk to you about anything, and makes you feel like he has been your friend for years, to see him go through another setback is frustrating.
Oberto truly deserves to be with the team even if he serves in a coaching capacity. Team Argentina just will not be the same without the big man in the blue and white uniform of Argentina.