Kyrie Irving downplays hurt foot, says he's ready for Game 4

CHICAGO -- After laboring through his worst performance of the playoffs in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 99-96 loss to the Chicago Bulls in Game 3 on Friday, Kyrie Irving expressed confidence that he'll be able to manage better on his strained right foot in Sunday's Game 4.

"I'm pretty optimistic," Irving said Saturday, speaking to reporters in a ballroom at the Cavs' hotel after coach David Blatt canceled practice in lieu of a team yoga session. "It is what it is at this point. Probably eight out of 10 players on the floor in any playoff game have some [nicks] or are injured in some way. It's just that time of the season, something I've never experienced. For me it's more of a prideful thing, and as a competitor, just go out there and give my team whatever is needed and whatever I can give."

Irving shot just 3-for-13 against the Bulls on Friday, including 1-for-11 in the second half, scoring a personal postseason low of 11 points to go with zero assists as Cleveland fell behind 2-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals. He revealed he suffered the injury nearly two weeks ago in Game 2 of the Cavs' first-round series against the Boston Celtics, then aggravated it on one of the first plays of Friday's Game 3 when he rolled his right ankle by stepping on someone's foot.

"It's more or less frustrating because you go from game to game," Irving said. "You feel a little different every single game. Then one play like that in the beginning of the game where you feel good going in, a bad roll on my foot, just continued to try to play through it. I kept it to myself, kept it within the team. I understand what Coach Blatt was doing in terms of protecting me. You guys were asking if I was struggling and he protected me, which I appreciate. But I kept it to myself, just wanted to play through it. Obviously hadn't bothered me since Game 2, but there's no excuses for myself, as I said last night. Just going to continue to get treatment on it, continue to get ready and prepare for these playoff games."

Blatt said the Cavs wouldn't change their game plan much to account for Irving's health for Game 4.

"We're going to play our normal game," Blatt said. "Like many players, Ky is fighting through some pain. Maybe his situation is a little tougher than most, but he's going to go out there and do the things that he can do and we're going to play our normal game."

LeBron James continued to show public support for his fellow All-Star.

"He's handled it well. I mean, the numbers speak for themselves," James said, referring to Irving's averages of 19.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.6 steals in the five games he's played since hurting his foot, even with the lackluster Game 3 factored in. "He's been paying with a sore foot since the second game of the first round, and no one would ever notice until he was limping yesterday. It's mind over matter for him. Obviously it's a tough situation for himself playing with such an injury, but he's going to give us everything he has."

Irving vowed to stay aggressive despite the pain.

"Just got to remember how many weapons I have as a player," Irving said. "The fact is, whether I'm (100 percent or not), I still got (to) the interior of their defense. Whether I'm finishing at the rim or not or making plays, I'm still living with me being aggressive and going to the basket and trying to do whatever it takes to win. I have a lot of weapons I still have to utilize and remember in moments like that as a basketball player and as I prepare. I just have to be ready for those types of moments whether I have one foot or not."