Battier withdraws from Olympics

by Paul Raymond | Posted on Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

Shane BattierHouston Rockets forward Shane Battier has withdrawn his name from consideration for the USA Basketball team, that will be competing in this year’s Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. Battier joined USA Basketball program back in 2006, competing in the World Championships in Japan. He did not play in the Tournament of Americas qualifier, but still remains on the 33-man roster. That roster is the list that 12 players will be chosen from. The USA team begins competition August 8th. Battier had to withdraw due to an ankle surgery he had last week.

This ankle injury pretty much forced Battier’s hand as he won’t be able to start running till after the 4th of July. The USA program will be holding a mini-camp the last weekend in June, which will pretty much set the official roster for the Olympic games. “I just got off the crutches today,” Battier said. “After talking to Dr. (Tom) Clanton, I won’t start running until after July 4. There is a (USA Basketball) minicamp the last weekend in June. If you can’t play in the minicamp, you probably can’t make the team so that that probably means the decision has been made.”

The 2006 World Championships were more then likely Battier’s last appearance in international competition. Battier is now 29, and his window to compete in Olympics has probably closed now. “I think I will move on,” Battier said. “It was a great experience for me. But with my family and my off-court commitment growing, they will get my undivided attention.”

For Houston Rockets fans, the question is, Will he be ready for the next NBA Season? The good news is he should be fully recovered by the start of training camp in October. The ankle surgery he had was to remove bone spurs that bothered him through the latter part of the season. He missed two games near the end of the season due to the pain, and fought his way through the first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz. This past season, Battier finished third in Defensive Player of the Year voting and was a second-team All-Defense selection.

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