CLEVELAND – Kyrie Irving had a pair of crutches next to him and a cast on his left leg. These aren't the NBA Finals the Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star guard envisioned for himself, but he made one thing clear on Wednesday: He's not blaming anyone else for his season-ending broken knee cap.
"In terms of everything that was inside of my knee stability-wise, everything was fine," Irving said after the Cavaliers' practice. "I trusted my trainers. I trusted my body. It was just a freak play. I felt good throughout the whole entire game. It wasn't about the minutes or anything like that that everyone wants to kind of speculate about, our training staff.
"It was me who decided to go out and play, put my body on the line. It happened in overtime. It could have happened in any given moment in the game. But in terms of me going out there, I felt great. That's probably the thing that hurts the most is how great I felt going into that game, and then one freak moment how it could all kind of end for three to four months."
Irving had been bothered by tendinitis in his left knee since a second-round playoff series against the Chicago Bulls. He missed two games of the Eastern Conference finals to rest the injury and admitted he wasn't 100 percent entering the NBA Finals. But he doesn't blame the Cavaliers for letting him resume playing.
Irving had 23 points, six assists, four steals and two blocks prior to injuring his knee in overtime of the 108-100 loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 on Thursday. He said he suffered the injury in a collision with Warriors guard Klay Thompson. He was visibly frustrated when he left the floor knowing his season was probably over.
"The way it felt, it was something I hadn't felt before," Irving said. "Walking to the bench I looked at our trainer, Steve [Spiro], and I'm just like, 'Man.' I'm walking around and I was like, 'This doesn't feel right,' and I had to walk off the court, and that was it."
Irving is expected to be out three-to-four months before he can return to basketball activities. He had no structural or ligament damage in what was deemed a clean break of his knee cap, a source said. Irving joined teammates Kevin Love (shoulder) and Anderson Varejao (Achilles) on the list of Cavaliers out for the season.
Irving is trying to stay engaged and keep his spirits up during the rest of the Finals.
"I don't want the guys to feel sympathetic or anything like that or feel bad, because I'm pretty sure the Warriors don't feel bad at all over anyone else," Irving said. "I want them to stay focused. For me, I'm as crazy as trying to FaceTime Iman Shumpert as he goes into the locker room for his shoulder just so I can give him a five-minute pep talk about how much we need him.
"Just things like that … I sit back and now I'm just admiring all these guys, whether they're playing hurt or anything like that. Everything that we've had to endure all season, all the goals that we set, now they have to go out and accomplish it. Now I'm just sitting back as a fan and enjoying it."
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