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Kyrie’s return makes Duke-Hampton worth watching

Even if Duke crushed 16-seed Hampton on Friday, the game will be must-see TV. It’s Kyrie Irving’s return.

The freshman guard hasn’t played since injuring his toe Dec. 4 vs. Butler. Since then, it’s been a series of uncertain updates, cryptic quotes from coach Mike Krzyzewski and the random tweet from Irving’s Twitter account.

No more.

He’ll come off the bench and play limited minutes vs. the Pirates, mostly in an effort to see how effective he’ll be with the ball and how effective he’ll be in the offense. His teammates are pumped.

“He hasn’t played in a long, long time, but he’s the type (of) player, you give him the ball, he’s going to get out there and he’ll help us if he gets on the court,” guard Nolan Smith said. “He’s that good a player.”

Irving is too.

“It’s even more nerve-racking, just the amount of pressure on Duke and just the aura of the NCAA tournament,” Irving said. “This is a special occasion for me, and I just want to enjoy it with my teammates.”

Duke plays Hampton at 3:10 p.m. ET on Friday. It’s on truTV.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.