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Houston’s Tucker leaves US NBA squad with ankle sprain

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Agence France-Presse

Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker is out of contention for the United States team of NBA players for the Basketball World Cup after suffering a left ankle sprain during practice.

The 34-year-old veteran of five international seasons, who played for Phoenix and Toronto before joining the Rockets in 2017, was hurt Thursday and will return to Houston for treatment and to prepare for the upcoming NBA season.

Tucker’s departure leaves 14 candidates for 12 spots on the US team that will try to capture a third consecutive title next month in China.

A final 12-player lineup for US coach Gregg Popovich’s squad is likely to be named before the Americans depart Los Angeles this weekend for Australia and pre-Cup exhibitions and workouts.

Remaining candidates include Sacramento’s Harrison Barnes, a member of the 2016 Rio Olympic gold medal squad, and Boston’s Kemba Walker, the only one of 11 US players on All-NBA teams this past season among the hopefuls.

Others are Boston’s Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum; Milwaukee’s Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton; Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox, Brooklyn’s Joe Harris, Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, Indiana’s Myles Turner, Denver’s Mason Plumlee, San Antonio’s Derrick White and Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers.