Key players Michael Jordan and Cheryl Miller have been injured within the last three days, casting doubt over the heavily favored U.S. basketball teams' chances for the gold medals in the Pan American Games.
Miller, expected to be one of the American women's starters in their debut Friday night against Brazil, tumbled over a chair, fell from the elevated portable floor and injured her right ankle Wednesday during a workout in the Poliedro.
Trainers packed the University of Southern California sophomore's ankle in ice after helping her to the sidelines. "I got it caught in a chair. It isn't that bad. My shin hurts more," said Miller.
"That's part of our franchise," an American team official said when the 6-foot-2 Miller fell.
Jordan, too, had his leg encased in ice Tuesday night after his 27-point performance rallied the U.S. men, undefeated in two games, to a 72-69 victory over Brazil. The Brazilians are expected to be the Americans' biggest threat in Pool A.
Jordan, 6-6 University of North Carolina all-America, said he aggravated a right knee injury while playing in the U.S.'s opening 74-63 triumph over Mexico Monday night. Jordan leads the Americans in scoring with 38 points in two games here. "It's a tendinitis injury from a long way back," he said.
The accommodations are less than deluxe but United States athletes are remaining at the Pan American Village.
Bill Wall, executive director of the U.S. Amateur Basketball Association, dismissed reports that the men's team had vacated the village in Guarenas, some 20 miles from downtown Caracas.
"That is not correct," he said. "We have been in discussions since the day we arrived on trying to get a place closer to the gym. But as of today we are still in the village."