Forward Blake Griffin is the most recent victim in a string of U.S. basketball players who have been hit with injury right before the London Games.
According to USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo, Griffin suffered a medial meniscus tear after twisting his knee in a tune-up game and was forced to withdraw from the roster. For most nations, losing a player like Griffin would be a disaster, but for the USA, he can be easily replaced with one of the country's other elite big-men.
Blake Griffin will be replaced by the NBA's No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis. While the 19-year-old is not as talented as the Los Angeles Clippers star, he still fits in with the Team USA system.
Davis is 6'11" and considered to be an elite defender. His wingspan allows him to block any shot, and he has the ability to match-up with anybody. His toughness also enables him to go up and grab any rebound and to box out surrounding players.
Davis is also an incredible shooter. He can make any shot from anywhere, including both inside and outside of the arc. He is also extremely athletic and can jump beyond the rim to throw it down.
These attributes make Davis a great replacement for Griffin. Team USA gets an extra big-man defender insider and more jump-shooting and three-point shot ability. Davis is very capable of providing the same excitement Griffin does, and then some. With great leadership around him, Davis will quickly gain the experience he needs and will make a positive contribution to Team USA's efforts on the basketball court.
So, while many will miss watching Chris Paul throw alley-oops to Blake Griffin, Team USA will not lose a step and will now become even more dangerous on their gold medal run at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.