LAS VEGAS – It appears Anthony Davis will suit up with the Olympic team after all.
The rookie forward and No. 1 overall Draft pick of the New Orleans Hornets is being called in to replace Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin, for tonight’s exhibition game against the Dominican Republic at UNLV’s Thomas and Mack Center (9 p.m. ET on ESPN).
Griffin completed practice Wednesday with the rest of USA Basketball’s Men’s National Team but woke up feeling some discomfort in his left knee and was flown back to Los Angeles for further examination from the Clippers’ team doctors.
Griffin signed a five-year extension with the Clippers that could be worth as much as $95 million on Wednesday.
But there has been no permanent decision made about Griffin’s availability for London. USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo told TNT’s David Aldridge that there haven’t been any discussions about Griffin not making the trip.
“I don’t want to go there yet, but I don’t have to tell you can build the case for length, shot blocking,” Colangelo said, “but until we hear about Blake I don’t want to speculate about anything.”
The injury — Griffin reportedly twisted his knee at some point during a scrimmage — caught Colangelo and the USA Basketball staff by surprise.
“He had a very strong practice yesterday. He felt great last night, never said a word about anything,” Colangelo said of Griffin. “And he woke up this morning with some discomfort and swelling, and the Clippers said we want you back home.”
Colangelo said they will not bring in anyone else, other than Davis, if Griffin’s status for London becomes an issue. That means Davis, who dealt with an ankle injury of his own, would potentially be in line for a permanent spot on the 12-man roster.
“He’s doing better,” Colangelo said of Davis. “The first week with the ankle, he wasn’t able to do very much, but he’s gotten better each day. He’s actually shown up well in the scrimmages and practices. He’ll dress tonight. He’s an alternate, so we can do that.”
Davis was one of three players, along with Hornets guard Eric Gordon and Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay, that didn’t initially make the cut for the 12-man roster that will compete in London. But if Griffin joins the long list of NBA stars who will miss the competition due to injury, Davis is positioned to take his place for the remainder of the summer.
The U.S. is already working without injured stars Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Derrick Rose, Chauncey Billups and LaMarcus Aldridge.