Kyrie Irving practices, 'ready to go'

ByMarc Stein ESPN logo
Friday, September 5, 2014

BARCELONA, Spain -- Team USA starting point guardKyrie Irvingis "100 percent" for Saturday's game against Mexico at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, according to coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Krzyzewski told reporters Friday that Irving is having no lingering issues from the hard fall onto his back during the final 90 seconds of the Americans' otherwise comfortable 95-71 victory Thursday over Ukraine.

"He went through the whole workout," Krzyzewski said after completing an afternoon practice at the Palau Sant Jordi. "He was a little bit sore to begin with, but he worked his soreness out. He's ready to go."

Immediately after the Ukraine game, Irving told ESPN's Bob Holtzman in an interview that he intended to play against Mexico in the first game pitting Team USA against its neighbors to the south at the World Cup or Olympic level since 1967.

Irving walked off the court at the Bilbao Exhibition Centre holding his tailbone after slipping on a slick spot on a hard drive to the basket and coming down with full force with 1:12 to play.

In his interview with Holtzman, Irving said the landing looked worse than it was and insisted: "I'm fine."

Krzyzewski went on to implore the assembled media to stop pestering Derrick Rose about his health, asserting that Rose is in "great" condition after playing in all five of Team USA's group games in a six-day span, including three games in three nights from Tuesday through Thursday.

"I think at some time everyone should stop asking about him physically and just say, 'How's your game? You think you're gonna win? How 'bout that pass?' Krzyzewski said."Sometimes, although it's nice when people say, 'How do you feel?'

"When that's the only thing they say, then you say, 'C'mon, man, let's have a more in-depth conversation.' And I think he's ready for that."

Irving has started at point guard in all five of Team USA's games in the tournament, with Rose averaging 17.6 minutes per game as Irving's backup.

Although he has struggled with his shot, shooting only 25 percent from the field, Rose has received rave reviews from Krzyzewski for his pressure on the ball as a defender.

"Pushing the ball, play defense and no turnovers," Rose told ESPN on Thursday in summing up his role on this team as he ramps up his comeback from two knee surgeries that limited him to just 10 games with the Bulls over the past two seasons.

"That's what I'm trying to do when I'm out there."

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