Love out, US basketball adds McGee, Keldon Johnson to roster

Jul 15, 2021, 8:32 PM | Updated: Jul 16, 2021, 4:09 pm

The U.S. basketball team has lost two games and now two players on its road to Tokyo.

Kevin Love withdrew from the Olympics on Friday because of a right calf injury, forcing the Americans to replace a player for the second straight day.

Love’s withdrawal came after the Americans announced Thursday that Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal would miss the Olympics because he was in health and safety protocols.

It means the much of the U.S. roster will have little time together before its Olympic opener July 25 against France.

“I think coming into something like this, you know that things can come up, especially coming out of a pandemic and the possibility of guys maybe testing positive,” U.S. guard Damian Lillard said.

“Injuries happen. People have a change of heart. You just come into it expecting that. “But I think our primary focus was to come here and come together as a team, get our bodies moving around, get in shape to be able to go compete on the level that we want to compete on and I think we’ve moved in that direction as a group. We feel good about where we are.”

Lillard spoke after the team’s practice in Las Vegas. The Americans were supposed to play Friday night against Australia, but that exhibition was canceled because of health and safety concerns.

Veteran center JaVale McGee and Spurs guard Keldon Johnson were added later Friday to the 12-man Olympics roster as replacements.

Johnson, who plays for U.S. coach Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, was a member of the select team of young players training against the Americans, and had appeared in two of their exhibition games.

McGee, who played for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Denver Nuggets last season, has won three NBA titles but has no Olympic experience. He has been involved in the national team program since 2009.

Love would have been trying for a second Olympic gold medal, having played for the Americans in London in 2012. He also was on the team that won gold two years earlier in the world championships.

That past USA Basketball experience helped him get selected for this roster despite his difficult NBA season. Love missed 46 games because of the injury and averaged just 12.2 points in 25 games.

He played in two of the Americans’ three exhibition games in Las Vegas, scoring one point.

The U.S. was already short-handed before the losses of Beal and Love. Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton, along with Phoenix star Devin Booker, won’t join the team until after the NBA Finals.

With them not joining the team until after camp and forward Jerami Grant also in health and safety protocols — though with his Olympics not expected to be in jeopardy — the Americans are currently without half the players they will take to Tokyo.

Guard Zach LaVine said he didn’t have any concerns about the team’s readiness.

“I think we’re the best basketball players in the world,” he said. “We’re able to compete and do things under certain circumstances and we’ve got to go out here and get the job done regardless. So I don’t think anybody’s going to feel bad for us or try to take it easy. It’s just what it is and we’ve got to still get a job done.”

The Americans dropped their first two games before beating Argentina. They have one exhibition left against Spain.

___

More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/olympic-games and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

___

AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Players fight for a header during the World Cup group B soccer match between Iran and the United St...
Associated Press

In protest-riven Iran, some celebrate U.S. World Cup victory

BAGHDAD (AP) — Soccer fans in Iran’s Kurdish region set off fireworks and honked car horns early Wednesday to celebrate the U.S. win over the Iranian national team in a politically charged World Cup match that divided the protest-riven country. Cheering fans hit the streets in Iran’s Kurdish-majority province of Kurdistan and fireworks lit the […]
1 day ago
Spain's Ansu Fati works out during a training session at Qatar University, in Doha, Qatar, Tuesday,...
Associated Press

Spain faces Japan looking to seal last-16 spot at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — After conceding late to miss out on a victory against Germany, Spain finds itself with some work left to do against Japan to guarantee its spot in the round of 16 at the World Cup. It doesn’t need much, though, as a draw on Thursday will be enough, and even a […]
1 day ago
Morocco's Abdelhamid Sabiri celebrates after scoring the opening goal during a World Cup group F so...
Associated Press

Morocco looks to advance in World Cup, Canada hopes for win

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Morocco is seeking to reach the World Cup’s knockout stage for the first time since 1986. Canada, already eliminated, is hoping to leave Qatar with its first win. Morocco would advance with a victory or a draw on Thursday night, and also could reach the round of 16 with a defeat […]
1 day ago
Christian Pulisic of the United States is helped by team doctors after he scoring his side's openin...
Associated Press

Pulisic listed as day-to-day with pelvic injury at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — U.S. forward Christian Pulisic is listed as day to day after sustaining a pelvic injury during his team’s 1-0 World Cup win against Iran that sent the Americans to the round of 16 of the tournament on Tuesday. Pulisic scored the 38th-minute winning goal against Iran, but crashed into Iranian goalkeeper […]
1 day ago
A woman holds up a sign reading Mahsa Amini, a woman who died while in police custody in Iran at th...
Associated Press

FIFA says rainbow items are allowed at World Cup stadiums

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — One day after Iran and Wales were eliminated at the World Cup, FIFA finally gave a public assurance Wednesday that rainbow items and banners supporting protests in Iran will be allowed into stadiums. Stadium security staff organized by Qatari authorities had seized items with rainbow colors and slogans such as “Women. […]
1 day ago
Men connect a homemade light with a battery to illuminate the pitch ahead of a soccer game during a...
Associated Press

In Ukraine, seeing World Cup, playing soccer pose challenges

IRPIN, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian video-game vendor Roman Kryvyi, fresh from a soccer game on a snow-blanketed field in suburban Kyiv, sat up close to a TV in a kebab shop as intermittent city power returned just in time for Tuesday’s World Cup game between Wales and England. For the 22-year-old soccer buff, there was […]
1 day ago
Love out, US basketball adds McGee, Keldon Johnson to roster