Garbo-gate heats up

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:46 AM ET

The Spanish media invaded the ACC in full force yesterday, primarily to send reports and game footage of tonight's Spanish celebration between the Raptors and Memphis Grizzlies back to Spain.

The sidebar, though, is becoming as important as the game itself, which will feature three members of Spain's national team -- Toronto's Jose Calderon and the Grizzlies' Juan Carlos Navarro and Pau Gasol -- and a fourth on the sidelines.

It is the fourth who is providing the sidebar material, much to his own dismay. Jorge Garbajosa never has sought the spotlight.

But this time around, the story is Garbajosa's health, or more precisely, his lack of health that is grabbing the attention of journalists.

Garbajosa is going to require a second surgery, according to the Raptors medical staff.

He spent Monday in Baltimore consulting with a specialist, whose findings have not yet been sent to the Raptors. There is some question whether they will even be released when the Raptors do get them with a likely insurance claim to be addressed and all the legalities that would entail. The bottom line, though, is there's another surgery to come.

In Spain, the talk is that Garbajosa is not injured and merely is being punished by the Raptors for not following their advice and skipping the European Championships to have a second procedure on his injured leg that wasn't healing properly.

Doctors in Spain refuted the team's findings saying further surgery was not required. With that backing, Garbajosa's desire to play for his national team was so strong and the team's desire to have him equally so, that the Spanish federation went out and purchased a $1-million insurance premium that would cover the $4 million in salary the Raptors would be on the hook for should he do more damage.

Well, that time appears to have arrived.

Garbajosa had an MRI last Saturday that showed something wasn't quite right. That prompted the visit to the specialist.

The Raptors are in complete lockdown when it comes to discussing the matter.

Garbajosa was on his way back from Baltimore yesterday and was not at practice to field questions.

His Spanish teammate, Calderon, thinks the media is making too much of the whole situation and not enough attention is being paid to Garbajosa's welfare.

"I love the Raptors and I love Garbo," Calderon said. "Everything is going to work out. Now we just have to take care of him."

Chris Bosh said he had no problem with Garbajosa playing for Spain this year.

"It's different over there," Bosh said. "It's different when you're playing for your country. They have a whole different pride about it. They're overall camaraderie with their teams and the way they look forward to it every year. Then the EuroBasket was insane and I'm sure he was waiting on that a long time. It's a different mindset."


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