Iverson injured thumb in loss to Puerto Rico

Updated: August 17, 2004, 3:23 PM ET
Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece -- Allen Iverson has a broken right thumb but was in the starting lineup anyway Tuesday night, hoping the U.S. Olympic basketball team can bounce back from an embarrassing loss to Puerto Rico in its opener.

Allen Iverson

Iverson originally injured the thumb on his shooting hand during the team's 92-73 defeat Sunday, then aggravated it during practice Monday.

X-rays on Tuesday revealed a non-displaced fracture, USA Basketball spokesman Craig Miller said.

"Will it keep me from playing? I hope not, I doubt it. I don't think too much would keep me out of the game," said Iverson, who has a long history of playing despite injuries.

Iverson, who has had problems with his right thumb before, shot 5-for-14, including 1-for-10 from 3-point range, with four rebounds, three assists and three turnovers against Puerto Rico.

A sprained right thumb caused Iverson to miss the final two games of the Tournament of the Americas last summer when the U.S. team earned a berth in the Olympics. He also sprained the thumb early in the 2002-03 NBA season.

"It's been bothering me and I hurt it again in the game last night. I got whacked on it at practice today and it is just bothering me," Iverson said Monday.

If needed, Iverson could be replaced by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or Carmelo Anthony. Wade has been serving as the backup point guard behind Stephon Marbury.

Iverson, one of the team's co-captains, played 31 minutes against Puerto Rico -- the most by any American aside from Tim Duncan's 36.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press