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Gregg Popovich disappointed about injury, Team USA exit of Lakers star Kyle Kuzma

Gregg Popovich, Kyle Kuzma, Team USA, Lakers

USA Basketball head coach Gregg Popovich admits he feels bad for not getting the chance to include Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma in the final roster for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Kuzma had a great chance to make the Team USA roster for the world championship in China, but the 24-year-old forward suffered an ankle injury in Australia. He had to fly back to Los Angeles for treatment, thus ruling him out for consideration for the World Cup roster.

Popovich said that Kuzma could have played a big role for the national squad, which suffered from the withdrawals of top NBA stars. The veteran head coach also said he was disappointed upon learning Kuzma’s injury, noting that it will also likely affect his preparation for the 2019-20 NBA season.

“It’s a huge disappointment, because he was a young, energetic guy who was really learning and could play a lot of positions for us,” Popovich said, via John Karalis of MassLive. “Mostly, I feel badly for him, because he missed play, and this holds him back a little bit for the season also.”

Popovich and Team USA will look to defend the title in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, which is set to begin on August 31. There are a lot of questions about the team’s ability to win this time around though, especially after losing to Australia in a tune-up match.