LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Kyle Lowry of the NBA champion Toronto Raptors has withdrawn from consideration for the United States (US) Basketball World Cup team due to a thumb injury.

The Raptors guard had surgery on his left thumb in July and had hoped to recover and play for the US in their bid to win a third straight World Cup title in China.

“I was hoping to be cleared and ready for the tournament, but I was not cleared for full basketball activities,” he wrote on Instagram. “I was hoping to be available in time to help my country in their quest for the gold this upcoming tournament.

“I love playing for USA Basketball but I have to sit this one out and support the team from home.”

US coach Gregg Popovich is also awaiting word on the fitness of Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, who missed the intra-squad exhibition game in Las Vegas on Friday with tightness in his calf.

The US squad is to resume training in California this week, with an exhibition game scheduled against Spain on Friday in Anaheim.

The Americans will fly to Australia the following day, where they are scheduled to play two friendlies against the Aussies and one against Canada before the World Cup starts on August 31.

The US will be without a host of top NBA talent in China.

LeBron James said in April that he would not be available and more recently NBA stars including James Harden, Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard have opted out of the US squad, preferring to prepare for the NBA season.