Russell Westbrook has had three knee surgeries in the past 15 months. After recovering admirably and playing what most would consider his best basketball in the 2014 NBA Playoffs, he has chosen to withdraw from Team USA for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
After a season that included his third surgery on his right knee, [Russell] Westbrook decided to pass on the two-month commitment that includes a July training camp, August exhibition tour and September tournament in Spain.
The move is mildly surprising, given the fact that, again, Westbrook looked pretty dominant for stretches of the postseason. But three knee surgeries is serious business, and the World Cup is a two-month commitment that would take away any chance at extended rest.
Fans of Team USA first became endeared by Westbrook when he averaged a team third-best 9.1 points per game (on 47 percent shooting), 2.8 rebounds per game, 2.6 assists and 1.6 steals per game during Team USA's 2010 gold-medal run at the 2010 FIBA World Championships. His 2012 Olympics were equally impressive given the elite company he played with, as he finished those games averaging 8.5p/1.6r/1.6a per game in the gold-medal winning effort.
Per Wojnarowski, Westbrook "still hopes to play in the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil." and is still on track to return as planned for the start of the 2014-15 regular season.