According to The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski, the Minnesota Timberwolves have reportedly blocked Juancho Hernangomez due to a shoulder injury.
Hernangomez was injured during training earlier this month with a shoulder injury that was believed to keep him out for at least six months. He made Spain's Olympic roster, however, and was cleared to play in Tokyo but according to Spanish Basketball Federation president Jorge Garbajosa, Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas blocked the move.
“Juancho wants to play in the Olympic Games, but Juancho won’t be able to play,” Garbajosa said in a remote press conference from Tokyo (via Eurohoops.net). “We’ve had countless medical meetings and we’ve never received a ‘no’. We have received a ‘yes’.
"We don’t have a problem with the Minnesota Timberwolves or the NBA. It’s a problem of people – not medical personnel – who have personally decided that Juancho couldn’t play. I’m talking about their president of basketball operations [Gersson Rosas].”
Garbajosa also said that Hernangomez's recovery from the injury was in conjunction with the Timberwolves' training staff and cleared Hernangomez to play in the Olympics.
“If the change of opinion had to do with a relapse or a physical problem on Juancho, we could understand it,” Garbajosa said. “I understand that for the doctors to change their mind, they will have to see or examine the player, something that hasn’t happened. It’s surreal.”
It's understandable that the Timberwolves would have reservations over their players playing in the Olympics after Anthony Edwards suffered an ankle injury while training with the U.S. Select team on July 7.
Edwards's injury wasn't serious but the shortened offseason due to last year's late start gives him and Hernangomez a shorter timetable to recover for next season.
Hernangomez averaged 7.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season and is entering the second year of a three-year, $21 million contract. While his production has been modest, Hernangomez's salary could be an asset as the Timberwolves try to make a big move this offseason.
It's in the Timberwolves' best interest to keep him as healthy as possible and that's a big reason why they've made the move to protect Hernangomez.