February 28, 2011
Duke fans eager for any scrap of information on the status of point guard Kyrie Irving may want to check out this video released Monday by the school.
Cameras follow Irving and Duke physical therapist Nick Potter through a recent rehab session for the freshman's oft-discussed toe injury suffered December 4 against Butler. There are no revelations as to whether Irving might be able to make a surprise return in time for the NCAA tournament, but Potter does say the healing process is going as quickly as could be expected.
"The overall progress is that he's doing fairly well," Potter said. "We knew from the beginning it's a long, gradual process. He's actually right where we expected him to be, if not maybe a step ahead.
"There's still a long way to go, but his body is responding as we hoped it would."
While injuries to Georgetown's Chris Wright and Florida State's Chris Singleton could diminish those teams' hopes of a deep NCAA tournament run if they can't return, Irving's status is still the most significant injury storyline heading into March. A healthy Irving remains the difference between Duke entering the NCAA tournament as a clear favorite instead of merely one of a half dozen top contenders.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has said Irving will not return until the toe is 100 percent to make sure that the injury doesn't become a longterm concern that could damage his pro prospects. Neither Krzyzewski nor Duke's medical staff has given an exact timetable for his return, but the Blue Devils have reiterated all along that it's a long shot Irving will play again this season.
Irving did little to dispel that notion with his message at the end of the video.
"There is light at the end of the tunnel," Irving said. "Whether I come back this year or somewhere in the future, I'm going to be playing again."