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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Howard wavers on going to worlds

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Dwight Howard might not play for USA Basketball at this summer's world championship.

News photo
Worn out: Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard is unsure if he will play for the United States in this summer's FIBA World Championship in Turkey. AP PHOTO

Orlando's All-Star center and the NBA's two-time defending defensive player of the year said on Monday that he hasn't decided if he will play.

It was the first time Howard has publicly wavered about playing in the worlds. He had stayed firm on his commitment all season even as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and other stars expressed doubts about participating because of impending free agency.

"I haven't decided what I'm going to do," Howard said after the Magic's end-of-season meeting. "I'm just going to get some rest and think about that later on."

Howard played for the U.S. when it won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He also won a bronze medal in the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan.

In the past two years, Howard has become the most dominant center in the game.

He is the first player in NBA history to lead the league in blocks and rebounds in the same season twice, let alone in consecutive years. Howard took the Magic to the NBA Finals last year, and they lost to the Boston Celtics in the conference finals this season.

Howard said he would let USA Basketball know of his intentions "soon."

"I don't know right now," he said.

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo has said he expects players who want to compete in the London Games in 2012 to also play this summer.

But James and Wade have indicated they might not play because of various summer plans. Both are expected to be free agents July 1, along with fellow 2008 Olympian Chris Bosh, and that could also make them unavailable.

The world championships will be held in Turkey from Aug. 28 to Sept. 12.

Gasol to miss worlds

MADRID (AP) Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol says he will not help Spain defend its title at the FIBA World Championship because doctors say he needs a rest.

Gasol says "present circumstances advise against my participation" in the championship in Turkey from Aug. 28-Sept. 12.

Gasol and the Lakers face the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. Game 1 is Thursday night in Los Angeles.

In a statement on his Web site on Tuesday, Gasol says that in a grueling NBA season in which he's sustained the first two major muscle injuries of his career, "my body is calling for a temporary relief."

Gasol helped Spain win its first world title four years ago in Japan.



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