Aug. 16 (UPI) — Houston Rockets veteran forward P.J. Tucker withdrew from USA Basketball’s roster, leaving 14 players in contention for 12 roster spots ahead of the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
USA Basketball announced Friday that Tucker withdrew from the team after he suffered a minor left ankle sprain during Thursday’s practice. The forward will return to Houston to receive treatment and prepare for the upcoming NBA season.
“I twisted it in a game last Friday and again in practice [Thursday] and I know they’re about to go to Australia,” Tucker told reporters. “I didn’t want to be hobbling and then come back [injured] in camp. It just made sense.”
Tucker joined Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry and Sacramento Kings forward Marvin Bagley III as the latest players to pull out of the tournament. The 34-year-old Tucker, who had three points and three rebounds in the team’s intrasquad scrimmage Aug. 9, was the oldest player remaining in camp.
The U.S. national team will leave for Australia on Saturday to play three exhibition games before trimming the roster down to 12 players. The Team USA World Cup finalists roster includes 14 players: Harrison Barnes, Jaylen Brown, De’Aaron Fox, Joe Harris, Kyle Kuzma, Brook Lopez, Khris Middleton, Donovan Mitchell, Mason Plumlee, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Myles Turner, Kemba Walker and Derrick White.