Throughout Team USA's minicamp in Las Vegas, everyone talked about this situation being perfect for Derrick Rose's return because he wouldn't have to carry as heavy a load with so much star power.
The load just got heavier.
Following Paul George's gruesome broken right leg, Kevin Durant surprisingly withdrew Thursday in advance of Team USA's trip to Chicago next week and the FIBA World Cup in Spain in September.
USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo said the Thunder star reached out to him and U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski, saying he was “physically and mentally drained.”
“This was an extremely difficult decision as I take great pride in representing our country,” Durant said in a statement. “I know that I owe it to my USA Basketball teammates to be totally invested in the experience. After going through training camp ... I realized I could not fulfill my responsibilities to the team from both a time and energy standpoint.
“I need to take a step back and take some time away to prepare for the NBA season.”
Durant's decision came less than a week after George suffered an open fracture of his right tibia and fibula after crashing into the basket stanchion during a Team USA scrimmage Aug. 1. George, an All-Star with the Pacers, underwent surgery that night and likely will miss the entire 2014-15 NBA season.
The U.S. roster stands at 15 in advance of its Aug. 14-15 practices at the Quest Multisport Complex in Chicago. The team will play Brazil in an exhibition Aug. 16 at the United Center. A roster of 12 will open the World Cup against Finland on Aug. 30.