The Cleveland Cavaliers have lost All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving for the remainder of the NBA Finals after tests revealed he fractured his left knee cap in Game 1.
Irving received an MRI on Friday at the nearby Stanford Sports Medicine Clinic that revealed the fracture, the team announced. The Cavaliers said the All-Star guard would have surgery in the "coming days" at Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland. Irving is expected to be out the next three to four months.
Irving suffered the injury in overtime of the Cavaliers’ 108-100 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night in Game 1 of the Finals. He had been bothered by tendinitis that caused him to miss two games during the Eastern Conference finals against the Atlanta Hawks. Irving said prior to the NBA Finals that he didn’t expect to be healthy.
Irving's father, Drederick, looked angry when he and Cavaliers pro personnel manager Kolby Altman rushed to the locker room as soon as Game 1 ended. Drederick Irving and Irving's agent, Jeff Wechsler, were not ecstatic about the point guard returning to action during the Eastern Conference finals because of ongoing concerns about his knee injury, a league source said. But after Irving missed his second straight game in Game 3 of the East finals, he received some pressure from a couple teammates – not LeBron James – to return to action, a league source said. Irving played in the fourth and final game of the East finals.
Irving thanked Cleveland fans for their support in an Instagram post Friday afternoon and expressed disappointment about the injury.
Irving is second on the Cavaliers in scoring in the postseason with an average of 19 points per game. He is also averaging 3.8 assists and 3.6 rebounds in 35.7 minutes per game.
With Irving out, Cleveland is expected to turn to second-year point guard Matthew Dellavedova as the starter. Dellavedova was 2-0 as a starter during the East finals and is averaging 6.5 points and 2.7 assists in 21 minutes per game in 15 postseason contests.
The Cavaliers also have lost two other players to season-ending injuries: power forward Kevin Love (shoulder) and center Anderson Varejao (Achilles' tendon).
The Warriors play host to Cleveland in Game 2 of the Finals on Sunday.
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