USA Basketball escaped Tuesday’s game against Turkey with a 93-92 overtime win thanks to some miserable free throw shooting by Turkey late and some timely made free throws themselves.
Jayson Tatum played a key role late, hitting two of three free throws after he was fouled as time expired with the U.S. down two to force overtime, and then in overtime, pushed the ball up the floor in transition to find Khris Middleton, who was fouled and sank a pair of free throws to give Team USA the lead and ultimately the win.
Unfortunately, Tatum was injured on that final play, rolling his ankle in the lane that caused him to be helped to the locker room. The initial diagnosis is a sprained ankle, and according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst he will miss at least the next two games as he’s held out until he can be evaluated again on Monday.
Team USA will face Japan on Thursday in the last game of pool play, but having already advanced to the second round, Tatum’s absence isn’t that big of a deal. Saturday’s beginning of the second round is more important, but that, too, is not an elimination game. A loss there though would set them up for potential elimination on Monday, which is the earliest Tatum could return.
The good news is that, given the rather short timetable for re-evaluation, the injury doesn’t seem to be too serious, but Tatum will surely proceed on the side of caution going forward so as to not put himself in jeopardy of having any lingering issues once Celtics camp opens up.