Team USA has looked as shaky as one can remember in the build up to the 2019 FIBA World Cup, losing an exhibition game to Australia and just generally having concerns about the roster after most every top player withdrew their name from consideration.
On Tuesday in China, they needed overtime and some serious luck in the form of missed free throws to avoid a group stage loss to Turkey, as Ersan Ilyasova dominated with 23 points and 14 rebounds. Still, a win is a win and Team USA moved to 2-0 with a 93-92 win in OT over Turkey, but it came with a potentially steep price.
After Cedi Osman missed Turkey’s fourth straight free throw up one, the Americans cleared the boards and Jayson Tatum pushed the ball up the floor in transition. He found Khris Middleton, who would get fouled and make his free throws to give USA the lead and the win, but Tatum rolled his ankle hard after the pass and had to be helped to the locker room.
Here's Jayson Tatum's ankle injury at the end of Team USA's win over Turkey. pic.twitter.com/IrUadQz1DE
— Chris Forsberg (@ChrisForsberg_) September 3, 2019
It’s a scary sight for both Team USA, who needs Tatum’s shooting desperately, and for the Celtics, who obviously don’t want to see any of their four players on the roster suffering injuries that could effect them come time for the NBA season. The initial word is a sprained ankle, with plans to re-evaluate on Wednesday, but for now, USA Basketball and the Celtics will hold their collective breath until further updates are available on his status.
Official update on Jayson Tatum: sprained left ankle, will be re-evaluated tomorrow.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) September 3, 2019
We’ll keep you updated on Tatum’s availability for the remainder of the World Cup when that information comes in, but it goes without saying that losing him would be a gigantic blow for an American side that needs all the help it can get.