LAS VEGAS – It only took one practice for USA Basketball’s most fierce opponent this summer to deliver another blow.
Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul had to leave the first practice of training camp here Friday to get an X-ray after hurting his right thumb. USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo called the injury a tweak of a previous injury and Paul could be on the practice floor Saturday.
With all of the injury defections — Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh and Derrick Rose for starters — the idea of losing Paul or any of the other 15 finalists vying for one of the spots on the 12-man roster that will head to London for the Olympics is not a pleasant thought for Colangelo.
It’ll probably take more than a tender thumb to keep Paul off of that 12-man group. The team will be announced Saturday night in a live USA Basketball Selection Show special on NBA TV at 7 p.m. ET.
Paul wasn’t the only star absent from the action in the first workout. LeBron James didn’t participate in the scrimmage, grabbing a little extra rest after nabbing MVP honors in The Finals just a couple of weeks ago. Deron Williams, the Brooklyn Nets free agent prize still hasn’t signed his five-year, $98 million deal. Hornets forward and No. 1 overall draft pick Anthony Davis is still nursing a sprained ankle he suffered earlier this week and was held out of the action.
Still, there are decisions that have to be made by Saturday night. Andre Iguodala, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon, James Harden and Davis are all vying for spots on the 12-man roster as well.
“You could build a case for each of the contenders if you will, depending on what you want,” Colangelo said. “It’s like a menu: Another shooter, it’s Eric Gordon. You want a scoring guard, it’s Harden. You want a defensive specialist, it’s Iguodala. You want another guy with length who can shoot the ball and run the court, it’s Rudy Gay.”