On July 10, Zach LaVine scored 10 points in Team USA’s first exhibition game against Nigeria in the buildup to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The Chicago Bulls star guard is part of the 12-man roster alongside the likes of Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal and Jayson Tatum, who are expected to compete for the gold medal at the basketball event.
Team USA’s first exhibition game did not go as planned as a Nigerian side filled with current and former NBA players came up trumps 90-87. The African side boasts the likes of Gabe Vincent, Precious Achiuwa, Josh Okogie and Jahlil Okafor and started training around June 20.
Team USA, on the other hand, had practiced for only four days and were almost dealt with a blow as Zach LaVine appeared to be limping after suffering an ankle sprain in the second quarter.
In this article, we look at whether Team USA should be worried over the talented guard’s availability.
2020 Tokyo Olympics: Is Zach LaVine injured after Team USA’s loss to Nigeria?
On their way to victory, Nigeria became the first African nation to ever beat Team USA at a major international competition, although there is little reason to worry just yet. Apart from the lack of training, and the fact that most players were only recently involved in the NBA Playoffs, Team USA’s group of players have never played together.
Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum recently claimed they were only trying to figure things out.
“None of us have ever played with each other, we're just trying to figure it out,” said Tatum.
Head coach Gregg Popovich claimed the squad will learn from their mistakes, and the defeat to Nigeria might prove to be an important loss:
"In a way I'm kind of glad it happened. It means nothing if we don't learn from it. It could be the most important thing in this tournament for us. To learn lessons from this."
There appears to be no reason for Team USA to worry as far as Zach LaVine’s injury is concerned. After hobbling off the court with an apparent ankle sprain, LaVine returned to the game in the second half and was one of six Team USA players who scored in double digits.
Team USA were trailing by 3 points with 3.5 seconds on the clock when LaVine was fouled and found himself at the free throw line.
He missed two free throws as Team USA failed to grab the rebound on the second miss and lost the game. Fortunately, Zach LaVine is not seriously injured and should be available to play in the coming matches. Team USA are the favorites to win gold and will tip off their second exhibition match against Australia on July 13 at 8 PM ET.
Also Checkout : USA Olympic Basketball Team Schedule