SHANGHAI — Jayson Tatum sprained his left ankle in the closing seconds of overtime in Team USA’s 93-92 victory over Turkey in the FIBA World Cup on Tuesday night.
Tatum rolled the ankle after delivering a pass to Khris Middleton, setting up the game-winning free throws with 2.1 seconds remaining. He had to be helped to the locker room and was off the floor when Middleton put the Americans ahead.
He will be reevaluated Wednesday in Shanghai before the full extent of the injury can be determined, coach Gregg Popovich said. But Tatum was already feeling better after getting some treatment and left the Oriental Sports Center in shoes and with only a minor limp.
“I think I was slipping a little bit, I think I rolled my ankle, I think I just slipped and fell the wrong way,” Tatum said. “It feels better than when it first happened. I can walk a little bit. Obviously it’s sore, but just get some treatment and see how I feel.”
Tatum is likely to miss some time if for no other reason than Team USA’s escape from near-defeat at the end of regulation and then again in overtime assured them of advancing to the second round. The Americans will play their final pool game against Japan, who has already been eliminated, with no stakes on Thursday.
The team won’t face a possible elimination game until next week.
In addition to the crucial pass to Middleton, Tatum made two free throws with 0.1 seconds left in regulation to force overtime after being fouled shooting a 3-pointer. He pulled down several big rebounds late in the game and finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds.