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Team USA player to miss Olympics; Las Vegas exhibition canceled

Updated July 15, 2021 - 9:28 pm

Team USA’s exhibition game against Australia on Friday at Michelob Ultra Arena was canceled, USA Basketball announced Thursday night.

The decision came hours after it was decided Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal won’t play for the U.S. men’s national team in the Tokyo Olympics because of health and safety protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Detroit Pistons forward and Team USA member Jerami Grant also is in the health and safety protocols “out of an abundance of caution,” USA Basketball officials said.

Team USA’s exhibition schedule concludes Sunday against Spain. Australia has stricter COVID protocol, which might have led to the cancellation.

Beal, a first-time Olympian, started the first three exhibition games in Las Vegas, averaging 10.3 points in 29 minutes per game. The U.S. lost two of the three games.

U.S. coach Gregg Popovich sympathized with Beal on Thursday.

“I’m dying for (Beal). We all are,” Popovich said. “Since he was a little kid, this has been a dream of his, and he was playing great. … It’s devastating.”

USA Basketball hoped to pick a replacement for Beal on Thursday.

Popovich said conditioning would be a factor in determining a replacement with little time to prepare for the Olympics.

Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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