By TJ Cantamessa

Stephen Curry has withdrawn his name from consideration for the Olympics, leaving the U.S. basketball team without the NBA’s MVP. Curry said Monday “it’s because recent ankle and knee injuries.” He didn’t say what the other factors were that he referenced. Several athletes have expressed concerns about the water situation in Rio and the Zika virus.

Curry has won a pair of world titles with the Americans and was a starter when they won the 2014 Basketball World Cup. He had spoken of wanting the chance to win Olympic gold, but missed six games in the postseason with a right knee injury. “My previous experiences with USA Basketball have been incredibly rewarding, educational and enjoyable, which made this an extremely difficult decision for me and my family,” Curry said. “However, due to several factors including recent ankle and knee injuries, I believe this is the best decision for me at this stage of my career.” Curry said he had spoken with his family, the Warriors and his representatives, and recently informed USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo that he would not go to Brazil.

Curry, the first player to be voted a unanimous MVP, and the league’s leading scorer, certainly would have been on it. He started all nine games for the Americans in Spain, averaging 10.7 points, and his USA Basketball experience dates to when he played for the under-19 team in 2007 that won a silver medal. He could have been the team’s biggest star in Rio, with Kobe Bryant retired and LeBron James still uncommitted. But Curry decided it’s more important that he rest, following a demanding regular season in which the Warriors set the NBA record with 73 victories, and a postseason run that’s included ankle and elbow injuries on top of the sprained knee. North Eugene Student Aidan Lannom said “I don’t entirely agree with his choice but I do understand that because of his recent injuries he wants to rest. At the same time, it’s the Olympics. We need our best players out there and right now he is our best player.”