Pregame Post-Ups: Irving Sidelined with Shoulder Injury

Thursday, Jan. 18 - 76ers at Celtics

Pregame – Irving Sidelined with Shoulder Injury

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics will be without point guard Kyrie Irving Thursday night when they host the Philadelphia 76ers at TD Garden. Irving will rest a sore left shoulder, which has been nagging him for some time and was aggravated during Tuesday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

But don’t worry, Celtics fans; this doesn’t appear to be a serious injury. Irving said ahead of tip-off that he had an MRI on the shoulder and the results came back negative. He hopes to rest over the next few days and be back on the parquet floor Sunday for the Celtics’ afternoon game against the Orlando Magic.

“It’s nothing too crazy,” Irving confirmed. “It was just giving me a little discomfort over the last few weeks, but I’ve just been playing through it and doing what’s best in terms of preparing best for every single game. I thought it was just best to get a few tests and make sure everything is OK.

Irving, who was named an All-Star starter Thursday evening, described the pain as gradual soreness, and stated that he wanted to take a quick break in order to regain strength.

He said it would bother him when he would “go into my shot and drive left. I was just not feeling as confident as I’d like to be. I thought it would be best to just take a day or two to get it evaluated and then meet with our medical staff, meet with my strength and conditioning coach, to strengthen it up and hopefully go on Sunday."

Marcus Smart will start in place of Irving Thursday night, but coach Brad Stevens doesn’t expect the fourth-year guard – or any other player, for that matter – to be able to imitate what Irving brings to the game.

“You have to play a little bit differently when Kyrie’s not available,” Stevens acknowledged. “But we can’t try to be Kyrie. We have to be better at what we do ourselves rather than be someone we’re not.”

Not having to face Irving won’t make Philadelphia’s job any easier according to 76ers head coach Brett Brown, especially since it will also be without its top backcourt scorer in J.J. Redick, who is out with a right leg injury.

“It really doesn’t affect much,” said Brown. “We’re all aware of what he does and what he means to that team. But we don’t have J.J., and he brings a whole set of skills that we really need. With Kyrie they’re missing an NBA All-Star, a gold-medalist, someone who can score in his sleep and can do what he wants with the ball. I think it’s probably more disappointing for the fans and TNT in relation to what that does to us to sort of re-game plan. It’s not much. We still feel like we’re playing against the best team in the East.”

- Taylor Snow