Kyrie Irving did not play in the second half of the Boston Celtics' Sunday-night game against the Indiana Pacers due to left knee soreness. The All-Star point guard played 16 minutes in the first half, finishing with seven points, four rebounds and one steal in the Celtics' eventual 99-97 loss to the Pacers.
#NEBHInjuryReport: Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness) will not return to tonight's game.— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 12, 2018
After the game, Irving hinted that he may opt for extended rest for the injury as the regular season wanes. He told reporters he isn't worried about his balky knee considering that the Celtics have a solid grip on the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com has more from Irving:
"I think [rest] will probably be the best thing, just instead of kind of hoping it gets better over the two or three days that it usually does," Irving said. "It's aching a little bit more than I wanted it to now, so I'm taking the necessary time."
"I'm not concerned. Where we are in the season, I'm pretty comfortable," Irving said. "I think that, competitively, I think that's more or less what I'm concerned about. When I actually do get back on the floor, I want to feel the level I expect myself to be at and I want to play at and being able to sustain it. Right now, I'm not able to do that. I just got to do that."
Irving said the knee started bothering him during a March 3 showdown with the Houston Rockets, a game the Celtics lost 123-120. The former No. 1 overall pick sat out Monday's 105-89 win against the Chicago Bulls to rest that same knee, which he broke during Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He did return, however, to play in Boston's Thursday-night victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
After last night's game, Stevens also sounded open to giving Irving more rest, writes Forsberg:
"If he doesn't feel 100 percent, then we need to have him sit, and so I think that that is something that we've all talked about, and [that's] why he didn't come back in [against Indiana]," Stevens said.
During an appearance on Boston sports radio 98.5 the Sports Hub last week, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge suggested that knee soreness might be something that Irving might have to "manage the rest of his career."
"I don't think it's anything serious, but we want Kyrie healthy and fresh," Ainge told the "Toucher and Rich" program. "And he carries a heavy burden, the offensive load that he carries, so we're OK with him missing some games. We feel like we have a deep roster, and we need him to be healthy and fresh."
Irving suffered similar soreness a week ago at Houston. Celtics coach Brad Stevens said after the game that this pain was similar but that Irving would undergo "whatever testing necessary."
#NEBHInjuryReport Coach Stevens says Kyrie told them he was having similar soreness as he did in the Houston game at halftime. Stevens believes it’s just general soreness but will do whatever testing necessary.— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 12, 2018
Irving is averaging 24.7 points, 5.2 assists and 3.8 rebounds per contest while shooting 49.1 percent from the field and 40.8 percent on 3-pointers.
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