Injury rules Duke's Nelson out of Pan Am Games

Updated: July 13, 2007, 11:48 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

Duke senior guard DeMarcus Nelson injured his left hand during the U.S. Pan Am Trials Thursday night and will be sent back to Durham, N.C., Saturday for further evaluation, multiple USA Basketball officials told ESPN.com Friday night.

USA Basketball spokesman Craig Miller said he couldn't confirm the extent of the injury. Nelson was X-rayed Friday afternoon after trying to play in the morning practice. Whether or not Nelson broke his hand wasn't known as of Friday night. He didn't participate in the evening session and a determination was made that he would return to Duke for further testing and an official diagnosis.

Nelson's departure means there are now 29 players competing for 12 spots for the team that will play in Brazil later this month.

Nelson is the second Duke player to be injured in as many weeks. Duke center Brian Zoubek suffered a broken left foot while playing in a pickup game on Duke's campus last week and is expected to be out eight weeks.

Meanwhile, the selection committee and coaches have two more practices to cut the roster down from 29 to 16 for four days of practices before heading to Washington D.C. for two exhibitions next Thursday and Friday with a final roster of 12. The team will leave for Brazil next Saturday.

While it's still early to say who will make the squad, already there appears to be a little bit of separation at a few spots as Georgetown center Roy Hibbert and Indiana forward D.J. White are making it clear that they should be on the team. Vanderbilt's Shan Foster, Michigan State's Drew Neitzel, VCU's Eric Maynor, Villanova's Scottie Reynolds, North Carolina's Wayne Ellington, Washington's Jon Brockman and Washington State's tandem of Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver are also playing well enough through three practices to make a case for the team. Still, with two more practices, a lot could change as the three selection committee members -- Syracuse's Jim Boeheim, Temple's Fran Dunphy and Oregon's Ernie Kent -- confer with the three coaches, head coach Jay Wright of Villanova and assistants James Jones of Yale and Alabama's Mark Gottfried.

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com