Anthony Davis is expected to miss this summer's Olympic Games because of knee and shoulder injuries that have ended his fourth NBA season early.
While Davis stopped short of completely ruling himself out Monday, USA Basketball later said the All-Star forward would be unavailable for Rio.
"I love USA Basketball. I loved when I was there in 2012. I loved when I played in the [FIBA] World Cup in 2014," Davis said. "But I think everyone understands where health is more important."
On Sunday evening, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry announced that the 6-foot-10 Davis, who has posted team-leading averages of 24.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 61 games, would sit out New Orleans' final 14 regular season games so he could focus on treating a torn labrum in his left shoulder — which will require surgery — and tendinosis in his left knee.
"I love playing for USA Basketball and representing my country," Davis said, adding it's "probably going to be ruled out
because of the timetable as far as recovery, but hopefully I'll get a chance to play again with Team USA."
In a posting on Facebook, USA Basketball said it was disappointed to learn of Davis' injuries and unavailability for national team duty.
"However, Anthony getting back to 100 per cent is what is most important at this time," USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in the statement.
"We wish AD a quick and full recovery and look forward to having him represent the United States again."
Speaking Monday at the Pelicans' practice headquarters, Davis said he would see an orthopedic specialist in Los Angeles.Rehabilitation from shoulder surgery was projected to last four or five months. Davis was unsure precisely what type of procedure he will undergo on his knee, but said he expected to be healthy by early in the next NBA season.