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Ginobili 'optimistic' of competing in World Cup


BUENOS AIRES, July 4 (Xinhua) -- Argentine basketball player Emanuel Ginobili said Friday he was optimistic about recovering from an injury in time to compete in the 2014 Basketball World Cup.

Organized by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), this year's championship will be hosted by Spain from Aug. 30 to Sept. 14.

According to the state-run Telam news agency, the basketball player said he was "shocked" to find out Monday that he had a stress fracture in his right shinbone that could jeopardize his participation, but added "I'm an optimist, I think the injury will heal and that four weeks is enough time."

Ginobili, who plays for the San Antonio Spurs, this year's NBA champions, returned to Argentina Friday, where he gave a press conference at Buenos Aires' Ezeiza International Airport.

"I want to play in the World Cup, at the age of nearly 37 .... If I don't play this year, it's unlikely I'll be back," said Ginobili, referring to the championship.

The next FIBA World Cup won't be until 2019, since the games are being rescheduled to take place every five years, instead of every four, to avoid coinciding with the FIFA football championship.

Ginobili, considered one of the best international players in the NBA, and one of only two players to have won an Olympic gold medal, an NBA championship and a Euroleague title, said he won't play, however, unless recover enough to do so.

"If I'm not healthy, I'm not going to play. If I'm not recovered by July 25, I don't think I'll be able to play in the World Cup," he said.

Argentina forms part of the World Cup's Group B, meaning it has to play Puerto Rico (Aug. 30), Croatia (31), the Philippines (Sept. 1), Senegal (3) and Greece (4) in the group phase.

Group A consists of host Spain, Brazil, Serbia, France, Iran and Egypt.

Group phase games (Aug. 30-Sept. 4) will take place in Bilbao, Gran Canaria, Granada and Seville, and the finals (Sept. 6-14) will take place in Barcelona's Palau Sant Jordi and Madrid's Palacio de los Deportes.

Argentina's national basketball team has ranked among the event's top five teams in the past three editions, and won gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics, bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and came in fourth at the 2012 London Games.