Elena Delle Donne became the latest player to withdraw from the U.S. women's basketball national team pool because of injury.
The Chicago Sky's young star was bothered in the WNBA Finals with a bad back and it was announced Thursday she won't be able to join the team for the world championship at the end of the month. She also missed 17 games during the season because of a recurrence of Lyme disease.
"My heart is heavy about USA Basketball,'' Delle Donne told The Associated Press. "I was really looking forward to the opportunity to possibly be on the world championship team this year. Playing for the national team has always been a dream of mine, but after a really grueling playoff run, doctors have been clear that my back just can't take it.
"It's disappointing to say the least, especially after fighting through everything else this season.''
The U.S. already is missing Candace Parker (knee) and Sylvia Fowles (feet). Brittney Griner is still awaiting doctor's clearance for a retinal issue that forced her to miss Game 3 of the Finals.
"Unfortunately, though my hip has healed well, the nagging foot and ankle injuries I have been struggling with through the WNBA season proved to be too much and doctors have put me in a boot,'' Fowles said. "I am very disappointed not to have the opportunity to contribute, but will be watching the games and wish the team the best.''
Tina Charles and Candice Dupree are the only true post players left in the U.S. roster pool who have played in the world championship or Olympics.
The Americans will play three games in France against the host nation, Australia and China over the next few days before heading to the Czech Republic for an exhibition game there.
The U.S. opens pool play in Istanbul on Sept. 27 against China.