New Rocket Jock Landale had sat out the last two FIBA World Cup tune-up games for Australia due to a right ankle injury, but he suited up for the team Wednesday against South Sudan in Melbourne.
Midway through the first quarter, he rolled his left ankle pretty severely landing on the foot of Marial Shayok and immediately limped back to the locker room not to return, reports Olgun Uluc of ESPN. It sounds like Landale is out for the World Cup, according to coach Brian Goorjian.
“Telling the truth here, he’s not getting on the plane with us [to the World Cup],” Goorjian said postgame.
Landale was projected as the Boomer’s starting center. If he is out, it means the Thunder’s Jack White will make the roster.
Australia won the bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics and enters the World Cup with hopes of medaling again, but losing a quality big like Landale is a blow to that dream. The Boomers still have a loaded roster of NBA players with Josh Giddy, Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Josh Green, Matisse Thybulle, Dyson Daniels and Dante Exum. Australia is in what is considered the toughest group at the FIBA World Cup with Germany, Finland (led by Lauri Markkanen) and Japan playing on its home court to open the World Cup.
Landale was a solid backup for Deandre Ayton last season in Phoenix, playing 14 minutes a night and averaging 6.6 points on a solid 59.8 true shooting percentage, plus 4.1 rebounds a game. That earned him a contract with the Rockets that was promoted as four years, $32 million, however, only the first year of that contract is guaranteed.
If this is just a sprained ankle, Landale should be ready in six weeks for the opening of the Rockets training camp.