The U.S. team's chances of doing damage in London this summer took yet another hit when one more frontcourt star bowed out of the Olympics due to injury.
And, in the process, he robbed the world of its chance to get a preview of what one of the NBA's newest, brightest stars can do.
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted the bad news on Monday afternoon:
Anthony Davis suffered a severely sprained ankle in a Hornets workout and almost assuredly is unable to play for Team USA, sources tell Y!— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 2, 2012
Davis' injury, which took place just four days after the Hornets selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, is likely to sideline him for 1-2 weeks, according to The Times-Picayune’s Jimmy Smith. Though the injury doesn’t completely rule out Davis' chances of making the U.S. roster, it does compromise them significantly.
Now, we may soon be able to add Davis to a heap of big men who have been ruled out for this summer's Olympic Games—a heap that includes LaMarcus Aldridge, Dwight Howard and, most recently, Chris Bosh, who announced he would be taking the summer off to recover from a sprained abdominal muscle suffered during the 2012 postseason.
Among the list of finalists for the 2012 Olympic roster, there are now just seven forwards remaining (not including guard/forward Andre Iguodala). Among those seven, just four of them are 6'10" or taller: Tyson Chandler, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love and Lamar Odom.
It leaves head coach Mike Krzyzewski in an unenviable position. Though this is still a roster stacked with some of the best talent in the world, it is now one that stands to be pummeled on the boards. This team now boasts just two frontcourt players who averaged double-digit rebounds last season—Kevin Love and Blake Griffin, the latter of whom was hampered by injury late in the season.
Despite size and rebounding, this is still a roster that boasts some of the premiere talent in the basketball world. When you look at names like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams, it's hard to believe this team is going to have a hard time competing in London this summer. It just might have to do it without relying on the bigs to dominate on the boards.
Will the U.S. team's size and rebounding prowess keep it from winning the gold?
Who knows how much of an impact Davis’ performance might have had at the Olympics? He hasn’t played a single NBA game yet, and there’s no way to tell how his 10.4 rebounds per game as a freshman in college would have translated on this summer’s Olympic roster.
His absence won’t make or break this teams chances, but it does reinforce the point that the U.S. Olympic team is going to have to win without relying on size up front.
Defense might win championships, but Krzyzewski's team is going to have to find some way to shoot the lights out in London and win small, or else its chances of bringing home the gold could be over before the Games have even begun.