LOS ANGELES: Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry and Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart will miss the United States’ national team’s inter-squad scrimmage Friday with injuries, USA Basketball said Thursday.
The squad of NBA players are training ahead of its bid to bring the USA a third consecutive Basketball World Cup title starting Aug 31 in China.
Lowry, who underwent a procedure on his left thumb last month after helping the Toronto Raptors capture the NBA crown in June is expected to return for training Tuesday through Thursday in Los Angeles.
Smart is out indefinitely because of calf tightness but will be re-evaluated next week in Los Angeles ahead of an exhibition game against Spain on August 16 at Anaheim.
Without Lowry and Smart, there will be only 13 US national team players to play on the USA Blue squad in Friday’s exhibition at Las Vegas against 11-man USA White – mostly the select team of other NBA talent used as training rivals for the national team.
That’s only one more than the 12-man World Cup roster the Americans plan to announce on August 17.
Joining the USA Blue lineup from the select squad they have practised against this week are Sacramento point guard De’Aaron Fox and Brooklyn swingman Joe Harris.
The remaining national team players include Miami’s Bam Adebayo, Sacramento’s Harrison Barnes, Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston’s Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker; Milwaukee’s Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton, Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, Denver’s Mason Plumlee, Houston’s P.J. Tucker, Indiana’s Myles Turner and Chicago’s Thaddeus Young.
Barnes and Lowry were members of the 2016 US gold medal team at the Rio Olympics.
Several top players – including James Harden, Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard – have backed out of playing for the US World Cup squad, with personal matters, adjustment times needed for new teams or lost rest time as reasons.
San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich guides the US national team, which will conduct pre-World Cup training August 19-28 in Australia.