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Tony Parker (France)

PARIS (EuroBasket 2011) - Lockout or no lockout - the French will have their NBA players at EuroBasket 2011 in Lithuania.

The country's basketball federation (FFBB) announced early Tuesday evening that it has obtained insurance for its NBA players.

The recent shutdown in league operations due to the lockout meant that the burden of insuring players had fallen on the federations.

Tuesday’s news from Paris is the biggest and most encouraging sign to date that the biggest stars in international basketball will be able to help their national teams try to qualify for the Olympics.

"Even before the formalization of the NBA lockout on July 1, 2011, the French Basketball Federation began working on insurance contracts of employment of selected players, in particular by proposing a pooling of insurance for all the federations concerned," an FFBB statement said.

"To this day, and thanks to this French initiative, the coverage of the players is finalized."

One pressing concern for France, however, is the status of Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah.

While giving all the players medical examinations at INSEP in Paris last week, Team France doctors viewed an old injury of Noah’s dating back three months.

The FFBB said in a statement: "In an act of transparency, the FFBB sent the medical reports to his club and his agent.”

The federation said that the latter had wanted to study the situation and take stock in Chicago with the player.

The medical staff of Team France has proposed a rehabilitation protocol for treatment so the player can resume training with the Blues as soon as possible.

The FFBB have also sent their own representative, Crawford Palmer, to Chicago "to coordinate the rehabilitation program of the player in accordance with his agent."

France, meanwhile, are to open their training camp at Pau on Wednesday.

Big man Kevin Seraphin will not arrive until the weekend after having been forced to travel to Washington, D.C., to tend to what the FFBB called “an administration problem”.

Seraphin just finished his rookie campaign with the Washington Wizards.

Veteran forward Mickael Gelabale will be with the group for the first time going to the Antilles following the death of his father.

When the EuroBasket tips off on August 31, France will be in Group B with Germany, Italy, Serbia, Israel and Latvia.

The two sides that reached the Final of the 24-team tournament will earn trips to the London Games.

The national teams that finish third, fourth, fifth and sixth at the EuroBasket will be invited to the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.


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