LAS VEGAS — Just as he was getting comfortable during USA Basketball’s mini-camp for the Men’s Senior National Team, Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders was sent to the sidelines with a sprained left ankle.
Sanders spent the bulk of the Tuesday’s workout on the trainers’ table with his ankle elevated and Bucks general manager John Hammond and head coach Larry Drew hovering the entire time.
“He just sprained it and it blew up on him a little bit,” Drew said. “It’s s tough pill for him to swallow because you know how bad he wants to be out there. All of these guys do. But it’s just a freak thing that happened.”
With further evaluation needed, Sanders’ will miss the mini-camp and Thursday night’s intrasquad scrimmage at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.
Sanders, who finished second to Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka in blocks last season, injured himself doing what he does best. He went up to contest a shot under the basket and came down on the foot of Houston Rockets swingman Chandler Parsons and crumpled to the floor holding his ankle.
Sanders had a towel wrapped around his head for much of the day, the frustration no doubt eating him as the action continued without him. In such a competitive environment, an injury can cost a player the time on he needs on the floor to impress not only the USA Basketball brass, but also the general manager and coach who made the trek here to observe him as well.
“There are a lot of eyes on us in this environment,” said fellow big man Derrick Favors of Utah. “It’s tough to see anyone go down in this situation. Larry was all over the place out there before it happened, too. I saw him over there with that towel over his head and I just told him to keep his head up.”