Nene expects to play on Brazil's Olympic qualifying team

Updated: August 13, 2007, 1:40 AM ET
Associated Press

SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Denver Nuggets forward Nene says he will be released to play for Brazil in the Americas Olympic qualifying tournament in Las Vegas later this month.

Nene's participation had been in doubt as the Nuggets and the Brazilian Basketball Confederation negotiated an insurance policy in case the forward gets injured in Las Vegas.

Nene admitted the insurance contract wasn't finalized yet, but said Nuggets officials guaranteed he will be released.

"I asked them: 'Will I be able to play?' And they said yes," Nene told the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper and other local media on Sunday. "That's why I am here."

Nene, who did not play for Brazil when it won last month's Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, arrived in Brazil on Sunday morning for his first practice with the team before it travels to the United States on Tuesday.

The top two finishers in the FIBA Americas tournament from Aug. 22-Sept. 2 in Las Vegas will clinch a spot in Beijing in 2008. The Brazilians, who nearly beat the United States in an exhibition game last summer, should have one of the strongest teams.

The Cleveland Cavaliers' Anderson Varejao also hasn't been released to play for Brazil because of insurance problems.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press