The Boston Celtics keep on chugging along. That much was proven true after they picked up their 12th straight win, a nail-biting 95-94 victory against the visiting Toronto Raptors, on Sunday. It marked the first game Boston played without star point guard Kyrie Irving, who was listed as inactive after he suffered a facial fracture in last Friday's game against the Charlotte Hornets.
Irving went through shootaround today and said he plans to play tonight vs. the Brooklyn Nets (7:30 ET, NBA League Pass) with a protective mask over his face. Coach Brad Stevens said earlier that he, too, was planning on Irving playing tonight.
Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald has more from Irving on his new accessory tonight (the mask) and his injury:
Kyrie Irving went through this morning’s shootaround without complications, and as a result said he plans to return to action tonight against the Nets wearing a protective mask.
But beyond swelling and pain from contact – something the mask will theoretically prevent – Irving said he should be good to go tonight.
“Just trying to get your peripheral version just to stay the same, understanding you’ve got a piece of plastic on your face. That’s about it,” said Irving, who added that he will wear the mask for approximately two weeks. “I hate wearing it but somehow it’s caused a craze on Instagram as well as social media, it’s masked man. But I understand that it’s just for my safety so throw on the mask for a few weeks and go about my business.”
The remarkable part, according to Irving, is that he wasn’t concussed by the event.
“At first I was in a daze a little bit. It was such a surprising hit. It happened so unexpectedly. I haven’t been hit like that in a while to where my nose starts bleeding – getting hit by Aron Baynes, it’s nothing pretty. But it’s part of the game,” said Irving. “When stuff happens like that, that’s the last hope - just you don’t want to get a concussion and be down a little longer than expected. But obviously we took the precautions. I did all my tests to make sure I wasn’t having headaches or anything like that, or any lingering effects. Good thing it was isolated right here on my face.”
"It's going to be pain tolerance, comfort with the mask all that stuff," Stevens said. "I'd say that's between him and our medical staff, but he went through everything this morning and hopefully he'll be available. But if not, we'll adjust accordingly."
Brad on Kyrie/streak ... pic.twitter.com/Cze4l3LbF2— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) November 14, 2017
Interestingly, Irving notes that before he was fitted for his mask, he took a bump to his face that caused some pain (per Adam Forsberg of ESPN.com):
Irving said that even before he could get fitted for his mask, his young daughter, Azurie, accidentally bumped Dad in the exact spot of his fracture immediately after the injury.
"My daughter hit me in my face the other day and, that right there, I almost teared up," Irving said. "I did my absolute best not to cry in front of her. I was like, 'Oh my goodness, baby.' She hit me right on that spot. Like, literally right after. I came home and I was trying to put her to bed and she hit me right on that spot by mistake."
Murphy also writes that the Celtics got some initial good news about Irving yesterday:
Irving dodged further trouble when, after two days of observation, members of the Celtics medical staff determined that the star point guard hadn’t suffered a concussion.
* * *