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Marcus Smart remains on USA Basketball roster - 100% confident he will stick

Gregg Popovich needs to cut two more players from his Team USA roster, and many analysts feel that Marcus Smart will be a casualty because of his calf injury. It appears that both Smart and Pop don't feel that way. After last night's 90-81 victory over second-ranked Spain, 14 players (two over the 12-man limit) remain on the roster, and all of them may make the trip to Australia later today.

NBA TV's Jared Greenberg interviewed Marcus last night in Anaheim The Cobra has no intention of going home. When asked about his calf issue, this is how Smart responded:

"Every test they've put me through have been exceptional. I'm ready to get back out there."

The outlook certainly looks good, at least from Smart's viewpoint. If the tests on Marcus' lower leg are truly revealing a minor issue that will be eliminated by rest and treatment, Popovich's stance would most likely be to keep the current 14-man roster intact for the next two weeks until Smart's total recovery is hopefully complete. Greenberg asked Marcus why he didn't take the easy way out and go home:

Greenberg: "It would be easy for you to say I've got to get ready for the NBA season and go home. What has made you stay with this team?"

Smart: "That isn't my makeup. I made a commitment to stay with these guys. I'm in it for the long run."

Marcus indicated that he is "100% confident" that he will be totally recovered from his injury and play with the final 12-man crew in China. It seems that Gregg Popovich has the same view and will keep Marcus around unless that calf issue persists. The USA National Team is scheduled to continue training in Melbourne, Australia in two days (August 19, 2019). Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum look to be locks for the final roster, and Jaylen Brown (9 points, 4 boards in less than 10 minutes) looked solid in the win over Spain. He needed that performance to retain his slot on the team. Marcus appears ready to play at any moment. Hopefully, that isn't simply his hard-nosed stoicism on display.

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