MNO Sports >MMA Arena >Notes from Team USA training camp: Kawhi Leonard to play vs. Canada, Kevin Durant is out. - NBC Sports

Notes from Team USA training camp: Kawhi Leonard to play vs. Canada, Kevin Durant is out. - NBC Sports


LAS VEGAS — When Team USA tips off Wednesday in its first warm-up game before the Paris Olympics, Kawhi Leonard will be suited up and ready to play. Kevin Durant will not.

Durant has yet to practice with the team due to calf soreness, and he will not play against Canada on Wednesday, although he said he was close to a return.

“Yeah, I feel better,” Durant said Wednesday. “I hurt it working out, probably about 10 days before camp. So just working through it, taking it day by day.”

Considering Durant’s history with a torn Achilles tendon, they will be cautious about his return from a calf injury.

After going hard on the first day of practice, Leonard was held back some during the second day of scrimmages on Monday. On Tuesday he went through the walk-through, and both he and coach Steve Kerr said he would play on Wednesday.“Yeah, I think I’ll be good tomorrow,” Leonard said. Everything’s been good so far. It has been in a neutral state, and hopefully, it stays that way.”

Leonard talked earlier in the week about his return from a right knee injury that kept him out of the playoffs. “I took the time, and I was able to turn around over the last two weeks. So, I’m out here now, and, yeah, I’m having a good time.”

“It’s fun coaching Kawhi, just seeing him up close,” Kerr said. “Just the physicality, the strength, the skill. And it’s great to see him back on the court and this has been his first real live action since the end of the NBA season, so he’s he’s just getting his rhythm and his conditioning, like mostly guys, but it’s good to see him out there healthy and playing.”

Here are a few other notes from the last day of Team USA Training Camp.

• Vice President Kamala Harris stopped by to speak to team. The Vice President has a few important things on her plate, but she took a minute on Tuesday to speak to Team USA.

VP Kamala Harris meeting Team USA today 🏀 🥇

— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) July 9, 2024

“That’s exactly what it is, a great reminder of the fact that we’re playing for our country,” Kerr said. “And Vice President Harris was great. She told the guys how much she admired them and how they really embodied excellence.

“The fact that we are going over there to try to win a gold medal for our country, she said that it’s a demonstration of our patriotic feeling of being part of something special for our country.”

“That was cool. We got her support,” Durant said. “She’s been out here working a lot, [she’s] so busy that she came out here and wanted to check us out is an honor.”

• Do we have a nickname for Team USA: “The Avengers.” We asked Bam Adebayo about what this team should be called. “We haven’t personally (come up with one), but everybody’s been calling us the Avengers.”

A superteam of unique talents banding together to fight a common foe? The Avengers works for me, but then who is Thanos?

• LeBron James was voted the best player at camp by his teammates. This is an interesting note from Joe Varden at The Athletic, who polled players (national team and select team) about who had been the best player at camp. LeBron James won with a plurality of the vote. The Olympic format might work well for LeBron, especially on this deep team, where he can be asked to give 20 hard minutes a game but not pushed beyond that.

• Steve Kerr said he likes Anthony Edwards saying he’s the No. 1 option. Young and brash Anthony Edwards turned a few heads when he said of Team USA, “I’m still number the No. 1 option. I mean, y’all might look at it differently. I don’t look no different.”

Kerr was good with that.

“I love that Anthony Edwards said he’s the number one option the other day. I want him to think that way, and I want five, six other guys to feel that way too,” Kerr said. “That’s the beauty of being on this team. These guys, they’re all capable of taking over a game. And I think as they go, they realize that mentality, that aggressiveness, is actually a good thing, because they’re all committed to each other. They don’t want to disappoint one another.”

• Durant with a little scouting report on Canada. KD was asked what he saw in the USA’s Wednesday night opponent, Canada.

“Tough, tough team to deal with,” Durant said. “You got guys who committed to the Canada program last few years, so they built that chemistry with each other and they played together for a while. Obviously, Shai [Gilgeous-Alexander] is the head of the snake along with Jamal Murray, they got the two guard punches. It’s gonna be tough to stop.”

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