Coach K: No restrictions for Kyrie Irving

Team USA is ready for some stress-free basketball.

One might think that winning the first five games of the FIBA World Cup by an average of 33.2 points would qualify, but it doesn’t.

Not when key players like point guard KYRIE IRVING are going down like the Cleveland Cavaliers star did vs. Ukraine Thursday, getting upended and falling so hard on his back that he had to be helped off the court.

Not when the their 2014 international experience is still being played through the prism of Paul George, their fallen teammate and Indiana Pacers star whose devastating leg injury in Las Vegas training camp last month reminded everyone of the worst-case scenarios in play at the tournament.

So when Irving said he’s fine Friday was to feel the collective sigh of relief from all involved, especially considering what’s on the line as of this weekend. Mexico awaits in the Round of 16 Saturday, with single-elimination finally beginning and the gold medal defense still on track so long as Irving is taking part.

“I’m all right,” Irving told reporters inside the same Palau Sant Jordi venue where the American Dream Team made hoops history during the 1992 Olympics. “I mean it was a little bit of a concern when it happened. I was a little bit worried. It was a tough fall on my back, just a light bruise that I took in the fourth quarter. But it’s part of the game … I’m all right. I’m a little bit more sore than I thought I would be, but like I said it was just a tough fall that I took yesterday and I’m just glad I’m OK.”

USA Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski said Irving will not have any restrictions going forward, which is good for his group considering the context. While Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose continues to take baby steps with his game, Irving has started throughout and been one of Team USA’s most consistent players (9.8 points, 3.8 assists and 23 minutes per game thus far).

“He went through the whole workout,” Krzyzewski said. “He was a little bit sore to begin with, but he worked his soreness out and he’s ready to go a hundred percent.”

Written by Catfish Hughes

Catfish Hughes

Frank “Catfish” Hughes has been called, “Bob Knight’s Baby with Hip Hop that covers sports.” and “the future of sports writing!” He is an official member of the NSSA & USBWA. Catfish covers the Los Angeles Angeles as the official East Coast Voice of the Lakers, and owns the NBA media outlet, and was the host of Thru the Wire Sports Talk Radio which aired on both ESPN Radio and Fox Sports Radio. Catfish is the head editor and chief here at the Boxing Globe. @CatfishHughes on twitter.