June 4, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) falls to the floor while being defended by Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) during the overtime period in game one of the NBA Finals. at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Just when it looked like the Cleveland Cavaliers had the firepower to match the Golden State Warriors–Cleveland sports misery happened in the form of another Kyrie Irving injury. With Irving playing Batman to LeBron James‘ Superman, the Cavs’ All-Star point guard re-aggrivated his left-knee injury in overtime. Now the immediate future doesn’t look bright for the former No. 1 pick, or his basketball team.
Irving sat in his locker following the Cavs Game 1 loss to the Warriors at Oracle Arena and talked about re-injuring the knee that’s plagued him during the postseason.
"“Obviously you can see in the tone in my voice I’m a little worried,” Irving said via USA Today.”"
If Irving can’t answer the bell in Game 2, the injury (obviously) hurts the Cavs chances of winning the contest, and for that matter, the series. TV viewers saw how bad Irving’s limp was heading back to locker room just after the injury, and according to reports, Irvin was hobbling around even worse after the game.
This setback is unfortunate because Irving had an NBA Finals debut to remember. He scored 23 points, with seven rebounds, six assists, four steals and two blocks. After being hobbled with a bad foot and knee tendinitis, Irving appeared to have some real spring in his step. He was creating on offense, while at the same time, playing some unbelievable defense against Stephen Curry.
Despite his amazing talent, Irving can’t beat the injury wrap that’s plagued him ever since he was in his freshman season at Duke. The 2014-2015 regular season was the first time Irving played in at least 75 games. He played 71 prior to this season, but was limited to 51 in his rookie year, and 59 in year two.
Everyone’s body is different, and Irving’s style of play dictates that he’ll probably never shed the injury-prone label. His ability to take any defender to rim is what makes Irving special player. In doing so, he draws a lot of contact. That means the odds of an injury go up. Asking him to stop or change this part of his game would mean you’d be asking Kyrie Irving to stop being Kyrie Irving.
Ever since Game 5 of the Chicago Bulls series, Irving hasn’t been someone the Cavs could on. He played 12 minutes in Game 6 against Chicago, played in Game 1 of the Hawks series, missed Games 2 and 3 and returned for Game 4.
No one on the Cavs publicly criticized Irving for missing time in the postseason, but there was a sense LeBron James was trying to send an indirect message when he talked about all the injuries he was going through while nearly averaging a triple-double in the Eastern Conference Finals, via Cleveland.com.
"“But multiple team officials speculated privately more than once that Irving would be on the court before a game and turned out to be wrong. Also, Irving’s teammates have been laying on thick the rhetoric about playing injured during the playoffs, while not speaking explicitly about him.”"
For someone rapped with the injury-prone label, having teammates indirectly question your toughness can’t feel great.
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But this isn’t about a guy who doesn’t want to play–just look at the above video. Irving is visibily upset. He wants to be on the court. He knows the Cavs can win the championship if he can play like he did in Game 1. His body just doesn’t allow him to do so.
Fortunately for Irving, the Cavs’ All-Star point guard doesn’t believe he suffered any ACL or MCL damage, but he’ll undergo an MRI to see if there was any further damage.
The early prognosis doesn’t look good for Irving and the Cavs, and that’s a shame. Because the NBA world got to see what a superstar Kyrie can be on the game’s biggest stage when he’s near full strength.