JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Emeka Okafor sprained his right ankle Tuesday and Tim Duncan stayed behind at the team hotel because of an upset stomach,
depriving the already undersized U.S. Olympic team of two big men on their second day of practice.
Okafor landed awkwardly and turned his ankle during a drill about an hour after practice began. The ankle did not immediately swell up, and Okafor was
taken for precautionary x-rays.
"Yeah, I worry, but hopefully it's not anything real bad," coach Larry Brown said. "If it is, we've got to go to the (selection) pool."
Duncan felt ill and had a slight fever, prompting team trainers to have him skip the morning session of the team's two-a-day practices.
The absence of the two big men left power forwards Carlos Boozer and Amare Stoudemire as the only big men. Okafor is the U.S. team's only true center,
although Duncan is expected to man that position for long stretches during the Olympics.
Changes can be made to the roster until 72 hours before the start of Olympic competition.
"We don't have anybody on hold or waiting in the wings," said Stu Jackson, chairman of the USA Basketball selection committee. "It would be unfair to
the team to even speculate on (a possible replacement for Okafor if his injury is serious)."
Even at full strength, the Americans will be at a disadvantage in terms of size and bulk against several opponents, a deficiency that should be
exposed over the next two weeks in exhibition games against Puerto Rico, Italy, Germany and Serbia and Montenegro.
The U.S. team has several versatile players who can play several positions, but the Americans also may have to use Lamar Odom and/or Shawn Marion at
"I don't look out there and see one guy that's not capable of being a quality rebounder in this setting," Brown said. "My Detroit team wasn't a huge
team and we rebounded the ball. That's just a commitment you make, and hopefully we'll do that. On the offensive boards, sometimes athleticism and
quickness is a real plus, so hopefully we'll do the job in that respect."