Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving has been having a breakout second-year in the NBA, despite being bothered by injuries. And the apparent heir to the throne as the league’s next top point guard does not want it to end prematurely, despite a lingering knee pain.
“The only way I would get better is if I sit out for the rest of the season, and I’m not doing that,” Irving said.
Meanwhile, Cavaliers’ coach Byron Scott, a former Laker great who is sensitive to the players’ needs, said he would strongly consider sitting Irving for the rest season so his knee could heal. Irvingmissed the previous three games with a hyperextended right knee before returning against the New York Knicks Monday.
“If Ky is hurting, I have no problem sitting him down,” Scott said.
That clashes with Irving’s position. According to sources close to ESPN.com, there was a miscommunication between the All-Star guard and Scott. The Cavs will continue to monitor Irving’s knee and he will continue to receive treatment from the team’s medical staff.
The 20-year-old played almost 38 minutes against the Utah Jazz and had 20 points to lead the Cavs in comeback win Wednesday night. Irving did not appear to be bothered by the knee, which he knocked against teammate Omri Casspi’s knee in practice two weeks ago. He scored 11 points in the final 4:21 of the Cavaliers’ 104-101 victory.
Irving, an NBA All-Star who won the three-point shootout and MVP of the rookie/sophomore game during all-star weekend, did not speak to reporters after Thursday’s practice because he was receiving treatment for his knee, but he is expected to play against the Memphis Grizzlies Friday night.
“If there is any way of doing more damage by continuing to play, then I’ll find that out and we’ll go from there,” Scott said. “I want him (Irving) to go out there and play and be effective for us.”
Irving is averaging 23.2 points, 5.7 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game this season. He was the NBA’s Rookie of the Year in 2012. The former Duke point guard has missed 14 games in total this season due to injuries. He suffered a broken index finger earlier in the season and was forced to sit out 11 games and the other three games were due to the recent knee injury.