An ankle injury has forced Houston Rocket PJ Tucker out of Team USA calculations. Picture: Getty Images/AFP
An ankle injury has forced Houston Rocket PJ Tucker out of Team USA calculations. Picture: Getty Images/AFP

‘It stinks’: Team USA loses another

THE big guns pulled out early.

The smaller guns began to ditch last month.

And now another role player has removed himself from Team USA calculations with Houston Rocket PJ Tucker the latest in a long line of eligible NBA talent to withdraw from World Cup consideration.

At least this one is due to an injury.

Tucker, a versatile three-and-d forward who averaged 7.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals for the Rockets last season, starting all 82 games, suffered a minor ankle issue, twisting it twice in the past few days and wants the injury to be healed for the Rockets' training camp.

"It's hard to have an injury in this situation," Tucker said.

"USA Basketball is such a big deal, but then to have the NBA season coming up, it's tough. It's always hard for me because I want to play.

"As bad as I want to play for USA, the Rockets, it's a big season for me.

 

Gregg Popovich is running out of numbers.
Gregg Popovich is running out of numbers.

"Selfishly I want to play for USA. It stinks. It's still fresh. So it still hurts."

At least it makes master coach Gregg Popovich's job easier, with now only two players to cut from the squad of 14 - 12 will go to China.

All 14 will be in Melbourne for the Marvel Stadium clashes on Thursday and Saturday, Tucker's withdrawal just a blip on a radar that has already seen the likes of Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and company withdraw their names - incensing some fans who spent thousands on tickets.

The Americans are set to land in Australia on Monday night.

Team USA squad: De'Aaron Fox, Kyle Kuzma, Harrison Barnes, Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Mason Plumlee, Marcus Smart, Derrick White, Joe Harris, Brook Lopez, Donovan Mitchell, Khris Middleton, Myles Turner.

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