The bad news keeps on coming for the U.S. Men's Olympic basketball team.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers is pulling out of Team USA due to a calf injury, the same one that kept him out of action most of the past season.
After spending 10 days in Las Vegas preparing for the Olympics, Cleveland’s Kevin Love is withdrawing from Team USA and won’t travel to Tokyo, sources tell ESPN. Love is still returning to full form from a right calf injury that kept him out a significant part of the NBA season.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 16, 2021
One player withdrawing isn't the end of the world, but this news comes at the end of a less-than-great week for Team USA.
Team USA's very bad week
It started on Saturday with Team USA's first exhibition game, a shocking 90-87 loss to Nigeria. This was just the third exhibition game Team USA had lost since the 1992 Dream Team, so it wasn't an auspicious way for them to start their gold medal hunt.
On Monday there was another shocker: they lost their second exhibition game 91-83 to Australia. They'd lost two straight exhibition games just two other times since 1992, but Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes said it wasn't time to panic yet — though those losses were pretty concerning.
It has become apparent that Team USA’s pursuit of gold will not be compared to the Dream Team or the Redeem Team by any stretch, but it still has time to adapt to FIBA competition, build on continuity and ultimately procure the goal at the Tokyo Olympics.
Team USA responded on Tuesday by stomping all over Argentina, with Kevin Durant leading them to a 108-80 win.
Bradley Beal withdraws due to COVID-19 protocol
Just one day after that much-needed win, and days before the start of the Tokyo Olympics, off-the-court issues started taking their toll on Team USA. The Washington Wizards' Bradley Beal, along with the Detroit Pistons' Jerami Grant, reportedly entered COVID-19 protocols. That led to the cancellation of Friday's exhibition game against Australia.
On Thursday, Team USA announced that Beal would have to withdraw from the Olympics due to the COVID-19 protocols, and wouldn't be traveling to Tokyo. It's a huge loss for Team USA, which now has to find two replacements — one for Beal, and one for Love.
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