Injury hasn’t deferred Marcus Smart’s 2019 FIBA World Cup dream definitively.
USA Basketball head coach Gregg Popovich told reporters Tuesday the Boston Celtic’s guard’s calf injury probably will sideline him for the rest of the U.S. men’s national basketball team’s training camp, which is taking place this week in Los Angeles. Chances are Smart also will miss Team USA’s exhibition game against Spain on Friday night.
“He’s probably going to be day-to-day kind of thing but probably won’t practice the next couple of days,” Popovich said, per USA Basketball’s website.
Popovich didn’t indicate how Smart’s tight left calf would affect his chances of making Team USA’s World Cup roster. Smart is one of 17 finalists for 12 spots, and his Celtics teammates Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum also are contending for spaces on the squad. Popovich will announce his final 12-player World Cup squad Aug. 17.
The World Cup will take place between Aug. 31 and Sept. 15 in China, where USA will seek its third consecutive world championship and direct qualification to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Smart reacted joyfully when USA Basketball named him to its preliminary squad. We’ll soon learn whether he’ll be able to fulfill his international ambitions this summer.
Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports Images