Kyrie Irving has been gutting out his first NBA playoffs unlike many others. At this stage of the year, every team is banged up and playing with nagging injuries, but cannot afford to sit out as their teams will make legitimate runs at the NBA Championship.
Since Game 2 of the series against the Celtics, Kyrie Irving has been dealing with a right sprained foot. It didn’t show much in Games 1 and 2 of the Cavs’ second series against the Chicago Bulls, as Irving scored 51 points on 15-32 from the field. He was clearly bothered by the right foot in Games 3 and 4, but was also heavily favoring his left leg. He turned up just 23 points and two assists on 5-23 shooting.
Irving got an MRI on the left leg and he was diagnosed with left knee tendinitis, and it was actually a relief for Irving to get that out of the way as he came back with 25 points on 9-16 from the field in Game 5.
Game 6 saw Irving reinjure his knee after stepping awkwardly on Tristan Thompson’s foot, and he would not return to the game.
Lebron James, who is also dealing with his own back sprained ankle and injured back, talked about these playoffs for the Cavs and how they’ve persevered through it.
“It goes without saying that we’re banged up right now,” James said Saturday. “One of our best players [Kevin Love] is out for the season. Our All-Star point guard has been banged up since Game 2 of the Boston series. You see a guy like Tristan, a guy who hasn’t missed a game in 19 years, probably since he’s been born, falls on his shoulder like that, you kind of get a little scared about it. Then myself, I have my nicks and bruises throughout the season and also in the postseason. Then you have Shump, who has a partially banged-up groin that he’s playing with.”
Irving as said numerous times that he can’t see himself sitting out, that he couldn’t live with himself if he wasn’t out there with his brothers. James reiterated that feeling after Saturday’s practice.
“To be able to overcome everything we’re going through internally, to put it out on the floor and just say, ‘No matter what we’re going through, we’re going to continue to play for one another and whatever happens happens,’ that’s all we can give,” said James. “We can give our maximum effort, what we’ve been doing, and we’ll see what happens at the end of the day.”
The Cavs will have had five days between the Bulls series clinching game and the opener in Atlanta, which should provide ample time for Irving and the Cavs to rest. Although Irving was pretty confident about his status for Game 1, head coach David Blatt would not guarantee his availability.
“He’s going through a lot of treatment, and we’re monitoring and just hoping that he progresses from here until game time,” Cavs coach David Blatt said Saturday after the Cavaliers practice. “We hope [he’ll be ready].”
We’ll continue to update Kyrie Irving’s status in advance of Wednesday’s Game 1 against the Hawks.