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Kevin Durant nurses injury but can't quit Olympics: 'It's truly an honor'

Adam Hill, Las Vegas Review-Journal on

Published in Olympics

LAS VEGAS — Kevin Durant isn’t quite ready to get out on the floor with his Olympic teammates as Team USA’s Las Vegas training camp concludes with an exhibition game against Canada on Wednesday at T-Mobile Arena.

Fortunately, the two-time NBA champion has plenty of FIBA experience to fall back on.

Durant has three Olympic gold medals as well as a 2010 World Cup gold medal. The 35-year-old is the all-time leading U.S. scorer in Olympic history, but he keeps coming back for more.

“The Olympics is a historic event,” Durant said. “It happens once every four years and you get to travel the world and play with the best of the best. It’s truly an honor and something you just can’t pass up, in my opinion. That’s why I try to be here as much as I can.”

He’s just not ready to take the floor just yet.

Rehab coming along

Durant strained his left calf working out on his own about 10 days before reporting to Las Vegas.

“He’s already doing plenty of things on the side,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Not with the team, but strengthening and treatment. He said he’s feeling pretty good, so we’ll just keep taking it day by day and it won’t be long before he’s out on the court with us and we’ll just give you updates as we get them.”

Kerr expects everyone else to be available Wednesday. The team limited its activity to just a walk-through Tuesday.

“There are some bumps and bruises, but everyone else should be good to go,” Kerr said. “I don’t anticipate anything major.”

 

Kerr’s squad worked hard its first three days in Las Vegas playing against a select team brought in to push some of the NBA’s brightest stars. It should get another stiff test against a Canadian team that features Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Denver’s Jamal Murray.

The exhibition will serve as a measuring stick given it pits the Olympic favorites in Team USA against second-choice Canada.

Durant would love to be playing, but he’s enjoying just being around his teammates.

‘Contagious energy’

“Everybody has contagious energy,” Durant said. “That’s one of the best parts of coming here with Team USA. It’s like a melting pot of the best of the best in the world here in this gym.”

His teammates are excited he’s a part of the group once again.

“For me, you just have a guy who really loves basketball and really loves competing at the highest level, no matter what,” Miami Heat star Bam Adebayo said. “It just shows the respect and love he has to be out there. He’s going through an injury that could have really affected him, but to see him out here, we are grateful. For me, it’s just his joy and love for the game.”

Team USA will move its Olympic preparations away from Las Vegas after squaring off with Canada.

It will play Australia and Serbia in Abu Dhabi next week before traveling to London to face South Sudan and Germany in its final exhibition games. Team USA opens Olympic play in Paris against Serbia and three-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic on July 28.


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