Blake Griffin has officially withdrawn from the Olympic Games and Anthony Davis has been added to the U.S. Basketball team’s roster.
Griffin requires surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee and joins a lengthy list of American stars that are sidelined this summer.
Davis replaced him in the Americans’ 113-59 exhibition victory over the Dominican Republic in Las Vegas, scoring 9 points in the 4th quarter. The No. 1 overall draft pick couldn’t be put on the 12-man list for London till Griffin had withdrawn last Friday.
”Blake worked incredibly hard in our training camp and certainly would be a valuable contributor,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a statement. ”This is another unlucky injury, but we have to continue to move on and we’re extraordinarily lucky to have Anthony Davis available. Anthony offers our team additional height and length, and this will be an amazing experience for him.”
Davis sprained his ankle in a workout with the Hornets and wasn’t able to scrimmage when the Americans opened training camp last Friday, ruining any chance he had of making the original 12-man registry. But Colangelo, drawn by Davis’ abilities, asked the 6-foot-10 forward to stick around with the select team of young players that was training against the national team, knowing he could be called upon as a replacement if there were another injury.
The college player of the year at national champion Kentucky last season brings rebounding and shot obstructing to a team that has lost Griffin, Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh from its frontcourt.
”Whatever Coach K wants me to do I am going to do,” Davis claimed. ”I am going to look forward the challenges, and I’m looking forward to going abroad and my 1st time out of the US. I’m looking forward to that and getting to hang out with some of the men and getting familiar with them and their exercise routines and how they stand by for each game. They are stars and they are here for a good reason, so I’ll just try to copy what they do.”
Davis made a fast impression in his 9 minutes on the floor, highlighted by a 3-pointer he hit while being fouled just in front of the U.S. bench.
Griffin hurt his knee during the playoffs and played thru the pain before the Clippers were eliminated. He was playing well in camp and being counted on as a option at center before experiencing pain in the knee following practice last Wed. He flew back to L. A. and an MRI examination exposed the extent of the injury. NFL lines
”I’m disappointed I can’t be with the guys in London,” Griffin said. ”I wish to wish them all the very best in their pursuit of the gold medal.”
Davis will become just the 3rd player to suit up for the U.S. in the Olympic Games without playing in the pros since NBA players were 1st used in 1992, joining the Dream Team’s Christian Laettner and former Connecticut center Emeka Okafor in 2004.