Kyrie Irving isn’t expected to see any playing time through the first round of the playoffs if the projections provided by the Celtics on his surgically-repaired left knee hold true. This of course is coming at a bad time for Boston, with the playoffs just two weeks away.
It’s even trickier than that. Even if Irving returns and the Celtics are still alive in the postseason, how much will the healing process and time missed affect him and the team? It’s not easy for anyone, even Irving, to instantly return and pick up at the level he was prior to the surgery. Most likely, the Celtics will have to do without Gordon Hayward and now Irving for a portion of the postseason if not all of the playoffs.
That obviously wasn’t the plan when the season started and those two arriving All-Stars were destined to become the core of a fast-developing title contender. That said, is losing Irving to what isn’t considered a serious injury all that bad? Matt Dollinger of Sports Illustrated gives the latest update regarding Irving and how it affects the Celtics:
Even if Kyrie is unable to return this season, or he does but Boston falls in the first round, the Celtics did get some good news Saturday.
Not only was the “minimally-invasive procedure” able to relieve the tension in Irving’s knee in the short term, but it also revealed that the fractured patella Irving suffered in 2015 has completely healed and his knee is structurally sound overall. That’s a huge relief for an organization that’s already dealing with one superstar recovering from a disastrous injury.
The Celtics can live with an early playoff exit in Year One of a drastic rebuild—but to enter 2018–19 with two stars on the mend would have been a cruel twist to Danny Ainge's slow but massive overhaul. After all, the Celtics were never all-in on 2018 anyways. Ainge has had his eyes on the horizon for years and can now stick to his plan knowing there's no long-term damage to Irving's knees.
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