Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward is among a group of players that will skip Team USA practice in Las Vegas next week, sources have told Chris Sheridan of Get More Sports.
The 28-year-old is coming off a gruesome, season-ending leg injury suffered on opening night of the 2017-18 season, so his decision to pass is not exactly shocking. Hayward also required an additional surgical procedure in May, and given the fact that the Celtics want at least one full run with Hayward riding with Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, playing it safe is an easy call.
The Team USA practices, which will be led by Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, are the first steps towards picking the roster that will compete at the 2019 World Cup in China and 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Hayward won Gold with Team USA at the U-19 World Championship in 2009, and in participated in games with Team USA in both 2013 and 2014. He was named a finalist for the 2016 Olympic team, but ultimately withdrew before the tournament.
The Celtics, meanwhile, still anticipate Hayward being ready for the start of the 2018-19 season.