Russell Westbrook out for U.S. play

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook has withdrawn from the USA Basketball player pool for the World Cup in Spain this summer, according to a team spokesman.

Along with Thunder teammate Kevin Durant and former UCLA roommate Kevin Love, Westbrook had previously indicated he would play for Team USA as they defended their 2012 Olympic gold medal and 2010 gold at the World Championships in Turkey.

Westbrook missed 36 games last season after having two arthroscopic procedures on his surgically repaired right knee.

After a second procedure in December, Westbrook returned to play the final three months of the season and postseason but did have his minutes restricted during that time.

Yahoo! Sports earlier reported the news.

Team USA will still be characteristically strong, with other players like Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving available to step in. Westbrook's role for Team USA, though, has typically been more as a defensive specialist, creating turnovers and playing off the ball as a slashing and attacking guard.

Because of his versatility, Westbrook established himself as a favorite of coach Mike Krzyzewski.

According to the team, Westbrook's health isn't in question, but the 25-year-old point guard is trying to play it safe.

A commitment to Team USA includes a July training camp, exhibition schedule in August and then the tournament in September.

Westbrook is a bit leery of those extra minutes on his knee as he tries to be prepared and ready for Thunder training camp in late September.

Westbrook will still maintain a presence around USA Basketball though, joining the team for some of their training camp, but won't play as he takes the summer to rest.