Team USA's Diana Taurasi 'ready to go' for Olympic opener despite lingering pain from hip injury

U.S. women's basketball guard Diana Taurasi said she will be able to play in the Americans' Olympic 5x5 opener vs. Nigeria on Tuesday after being out of game action since July 3 because of a hip injury.

Team USA, under coach Dawn Staley, will be seeking a seventh consecutive Olympic gold medal; Taurasi will be going for her fifth.

"Yeah, I'll be ready to go," Taurasi said Monday in on a video call with media. "Getting here to Tokyo was huge. Knowing we were going to have six days of being able to be on court and go through the progression you need when you haven't been on court for three weeks.

"The last two days, I've done pretty much all of the things I need to do to be back on court. I'll be [ready for] as many minutes as Dawn needs me."

Taurasi, 39, was the leading scorer for the Americans in the 2012 and 2016 Summer Games. Her first Olympics was in 2004, when she was WNBA Rookie of the Year out of UConn. She also played in the 2008 Olympics. A three-time WNBA champion with the Phoenix Mercury, Taurasi is the league's all-time leading scorer (9,040 points).

Taurasi earlier this year dealt with a sternum fracture and has played in just seven Mercury games in her 17th WNBA season. She didn't play in Team USA's three exhibitions in Las Vegas last week, which included the All-Star Game. But she returned to practice when the U.S. team arrived in Japan.

"Having her presence here has been super helpful for all of us," said U.S. guard Jewell Loyd of the Seattle Storm. "She's obviously a vet, she's done this before. She brings a different energy and confidence to this team. Really, it's her talking -- her communication has been so big. I'm excited to have her back."

Taurasi said it has been a challenging path for her this summer with the injury. But at this point, she doesn't think she can make the injury any worse, so she she's ready to test it in a game.

"It's been painful," Taurasi said. "There are times where you kinda gotta grind through the pain, and this is one of them. Where I feel good, but there's still some pain. So at this point, I've just gotta make sure I do all the things that make me feel a little bit better to go on the court."