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Kyrie Irving forced to leave Nets-Lakers game early

Star guard re-aggravated facial fracture injury in first minute of game

Brooklyn guard Kyrie Irving left the team’s preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers about one minute after tip-off after taking a hit to the face.

Irving was attempting to play through a facial fracture, an injury that occurred in a pickup game last month. He was wearing a clear mask in an effort to protect his face, but appeared to bump into Lakers guard Rajon Rondo while playing defense just 1:06 into the contest.

Irving’s face made contact with Rondo’s upper arm. The Nets guard immediately winced in pain, took the mask off and motioned to the bench that he needed a substitute.

The team soon ruled him out for the rest of the game, though, after that.

Aside from Irving, Nets swingman Caris LeVert is listed as questionable to return to the game after he was scratched in the eye in the game’s initial minute as well.

The Nets ended up beating the Lakers, 114-111, thanks to a fourth-quarter rally fueled by Brooklyn’s backups.

Irving originally suffered his injury, a left side facial fracture, after taking an elbow to the face in a pickup game in late September. He was signed in July after two seasons in Boston. He has had to wear a mask previously during games to protect a facial fracture, including early in the 2017-18 season after he was elbowed by former teammate Aron Baynes.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.