The Cleveland Cavaliers' star point guard Kyrie Irving has been ruled out of the rest of the NBA Finals with a fractured kneecap.
Irving, dogged by knee tendonitis and other leg injuries throughout the playoffs, broke down late in Thursday's 108-100 overtime loss to the Golden State Warriors in the first of the seven-game series.
Irving will need surgery and will not play until next season.
His teammate Matthew Dellavedova will step into Irving's place for the remainder of the series.
"I'll be prepared for whatever the team needs," Dellavedova told reporters.
The key to Cleveland's success in Sunday's game two in Oakland will likely come down to how well Dellavedova guards Stephen Curry, the recently named NBA MVP and arguably the best shooter in NBA history.
Dellavedova says it will be a team effort.
"He's a tough cover and just one person can't stop him because he comes off a lot of screens," Dellavedova said.
"He's obviously the MVP for a reason."
The only solace for the Cavaliers is Dellavedova has excelled in the starting line-up in the playoffs.
The point guard from Maryborough in country Victoria skyrocketed to fame when Irving was forced to miss games in the Cavaliers' playoff series against the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks.
Cleveland coach David Blatt and team leader LeBron James have showered the 24-year-old with praise.
"Well, you saw he played terrifically," Blatt, asked about the confidence he has in Dellavedova as a starter, said.
"He stepped in and did a great job, and the team believes in him."
James said Dellavedova and the rest of the Cavaliers will step in.
"We've been in this position before," James said.
"So next man up."