Kyrie Irving reportedly to return to Nets lineup Sunday vs. Atlanta

Kurt Helin

Kyrie Irving got a cortisone shot in his right shoulder to help with bursitis pain, went through a couple of full-contact practices, and now is ready to return to the court.

Irving may play for the first time in 26 games on Sunday against Atlanta, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

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The Nets started the season 4-7 with Irving running the point. The team struggled on offense to adapt to Irving’s isolation heavy, go-at-your-guy-and-score style.

When Irving stepped aside, Spencer Dinwiddie was thrust into the starting lineup and thrived — he averaged 24.8 points and 7.2 assists a game, and more importantly the offense flowed better. Dinwiddie understood what coach Kenny Atkinson wants out of his offense. Brooklyn went 13-13 with Irving out and now sits as the eighth seed in the East.

Nobody should suggest Brooklyn is better without Irving — he is one of the best shot creators and scorers in the game. Irving averaged 28.5 points and 7.2 assists a game before his shoulder issue flared up. However, they were a very different looking team on offense with Irving, a team still trying to mesh his style into the existing team culture.

Sunday, against one of the worst defenses in the NBA (a soft landing spot to start), Irving and the Nets will get back to trying to mesh their styles.

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