Wallace says yes, O'Neal declines Olympic invitation

Posted: Wednesday, June 02, 2004

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) Detroit Pistons center Ben Wallace expects to play for the U.S. men's basketball team at the Olympics in Athens.

''They asked me two weeks ago if I would say, 'Yes' to playing on the team, and I said, 'Yes,''' Wallace said Tuesday night before playing Indiana in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. ''I don't know if they have decided what to do because they haven't announced it yet.''

U.S. coach Larry Brown, who is also Wallace's coach in Detroit, said the USA Basketball selection committee will have a conference call this week to find replacements for players who have withdrawn from the roster.

The U.S. roster now includes Mike Bibby and Stephon Marbury at point guard, but Bibby has been wavering on his commitment. The shooting guard position will be manned by Allen Iverson and LeBron James, with Richard Jefferson and Shawn Marion at small forward, and Amare Stoudemire and Tim Duncan at power forward.

O'Neal says he probably won't play in Athens

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. Indiana Pacers All-Star Jermaine O'Neal said Tuesday night that his injured left knee will probably keep him from playing for the U.S. Olympic team this summer.

After the Pacers were eliminated 69-65 by Detroit in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals, O'Neal, who has said he would wait until the season was over to make a decision on Athens, was asked the question one more time.

''If I had to say today if I was going to Athens, I would say 'No,''' O'Neal said.

He played the last three games of the series on a sprained and bruised left knee that was injured in Game 4 when he landed awkwardly while going for a rebound.

O'Neal said he had a small ligament tear and would need 4-to-6 months to recover.

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