Perhaps no team's title hopes have been hindered by injury more than the Cavaliers, who lost Kevin Love in their first-round sweep of the Boston Celtics, so the news that Kyrie Irving is playing through yet another lower-body injury has to have Cleveland fans wondering whether this isn't their year — again.
On Monday, the Cavaliers confirmed their All-Star point guard is suffering from right knee tendinitis in addition to the strained right foot he suffered in Game 2 against the Celtics. In the final week of the regular season, Irving missed two games and left another early with soreness in his right hip.
Kyrie Irving had an MRI this morning that confirmed a right foot strain and tendinitis in his left knee. Amazing he can run at all.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) May 11, 2015
Asked if he's considered resting his ailments, Irving told reporters, "I can’t do it. Mentally I can’t do it. I can’t look myself in the mirror and sit on the bench or sit in the locker room while I watch my teammates go out there. I’d rather give 30, 40 percent rather than give none at all. I just literally can’t do it."
Likewise, Cavs coach David Blatt showed no indication of resting Irving in the conference semifinals.
David Blatt says there has been no discussion on sitting Kyrie Irving for healing purposes. He's going to play through.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) May 11, 2015
For a player whose game relies so much on quickness and change of pace, one injury is tough enough. But two? After amassing 51 points (on 32 shots) and nine assists in the first two games against the Chicago Bulls, Irving collected a total of just 23 points (on 23 shots) and two assists in Games 3 and 4.
The Cavs required a LeBron James buzzer beater to avoid a 3-1 deficit and pull even in the series. Even LeBron isn't without injury concerns at this point in the season, as he reportedly received treatment on the left ankle he rolled in the third quarter of Game 4. While he sure seemed fine for that final play, just how far he can carry Cleveland without Love and with Irving at half speed remains to be seen.
Granted, every team deals with injuries when the game count reaches into the nineties — including the Bulls, who were without Pau Gasol on Sunday — but serious injuries to Love, John Wall and Chandler Parsons, among others to varying degrees (Chris Paul, Mike Conley, Tony Parker, Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Joakim Noah, etc.) have played a significant role in determining what has become an awful strange playoff season in 2015. It's a shame to add anybody else to a list that's already grown too long.
- - - - - - -