After telling coaches at Mideba Extremadura that they missed their flight for the team’s upcoming game against Bilbao, Brazilian wheelchair basketball players Gelson Silva and Dwan Gomes have stopped communicating with the team. Management is unclear what the situation is, and has fears that the players no longer desire to play for the team.
Silva has been a fixture for several years on the Brazilian national team, competing at the 2008 Summer Paralympics and last year’s Americas Wheelchair Basketball Challenge and Parapan American Games. Gomes is also a member of the Brazilian national team, competing at the 2013 IWBF U-23 Americas Championship and last year’s Parapan American Games.
Their disappearance leaves the team in a bind. Because of a number of injuries, without the pair, the team has only six players: Albert Esteche, Josema Conde, Hugo Lourenço, José Cano, Adrián Romero and Paco Romero. Because of how wheelchair basketball works, some players may not be able to be easily subbed in and out, and may be required to play the whole game.
President Lalo Cabanillas and coach Marco Galego have few options. The deadline for signing new contracts for this season has passed. The core of their team will have to remain at seven players if the Brazilians do not return. Lauri and Eusebio, both under contract with the team, have injuries that may leave them unable to return this season. The only place the team can add an extra player is for the Euroleague, when they can add José Manuel Vargas to the roster because of his connection to the team. The team has no other options for King’s Cup and league play.