Kyrie Irving was on his way to exploding into the upper echelon of NBA players. His ascension was sidetracked, though, when he suffered a broken left index finger, knocking him out of action for at least a month.
The Cleveland Cavaliers initially diagnosed it as a bruise before tests revealed a fracture. The NBA’s reigning rookie of the year got hurt in the third quarter Saturday night against Dallas. X-rays were negative and he returned to the game with his finger wrapped.
He played Sunday at Philadelphia, but scored a season-low nine points on 4-of-14 shooting as Cleveland dropped its sixth straight game. On Monday, he underwent an MRI and other tests which showed a hairline/non-displaced fracture. The Cavs said Irving’s finger will be taped and placed in a splint. He will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
It’s the latest injury for the talented 20-year-old, who broke his right hand during a summer practice when he slammed it in frustration against a padded wall when the team was in Las Vegas. Irving played in just 11 games as a freshman at Duke because of a foot tendon injury, which took more than one year to heal completely.
Last season, Irving missed 15 games with a concussion and shoulder injury.
As the Cavs opened camp in October, Irving was asked about a label of being fragile.
“I’m not worried about being injury prone,” he said. “Not at all.”
And yet he is hurt again.
Irving added five pounds of muscle during the offseason so he would be able to handle any contact on drives to the basket. But he wound up losing the weight after he had four wisdom teeth pulled.
Also with the struggling Cavs, second-year forward Tristan Thompson sustained a nasal fracture in Sunday’s loss to the Sixers. He will be fitted with a protective mask and is projected to be available for Wednesday’s home game against Philadelphia.