Tatum returns to practice, still out with sprained ankle

TIM REYNOLDS (AP Basketball Writer)
The Associated Press
SHANGHAI, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 03: Jayson Tatum of USA reacts during the 1st round Group E match between USA and Turkey of 2019 FIBA World Cup at the Oriental Sports Center on September 3, 2019 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
SHANGHAI, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 03: Jayson Tatum of USA reacts during the 1st round Group E match between USA and Turkey of 2019 FIBA World Cup at the Oriental Sports Center on September 3, 2019 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

SHENZHEN, China (AP) -- Jayson Tatum returned to practice with the U.S. men's basketball team Monday, less than a week after he sprained his left ankle.

He did not play Monday night when the U.S. (5-0) closed World Cup second-round action with a win over Brazil. It is unclear if Tatum will be ready for a quarterfinal against France on Wednesday.

''I hope I can play,'' Tatum said. ''There's no timetable or anything. I'm just trying to get back right.''

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Tatum said he went through the entire U.S. shootaround practice in advance of the Brazil game, able to run and cut without difficulty.

''Felt good,'' Tatum said.

The Boston Celtics forward sprained the ankle in the final seconds of overtime in last week's 93-92 win over Turkey. He was hurt when he set up Khris Middleton for what became the winning free throws. Tatum made two of three with one-tenth of a second left in regulation, forcing overtime.

Tatum started the first two games of the tournament, averaging 10.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in 24.5 minutes.

''When it first happened I was upset,'' Tatum said. ''I didn't want to miss any games. But it's nothing significant.''

U.S. coach Gregg Popovich did not have an update on when Tatum could return to games, though seeing him on the floor Monday was a good sign.

''It's encouraging,'' Popovich said.

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