Kyrie Irving underwent a minor knee procedure to help alleviate the pain in his left knee over the weekend and his timetable for return is three to six weeks according to a press release from the Celtics:
Celtics guard Kyrie Irving today underwent a minimally-invasive procedure to remove a tension wire in his left knee. The wire was originally placed as part of the surgical repair of a fractured patella sustained during the 2015 NBA Finals. While removal of the wire should relieve irritation it was causing in Irving’s patellar tendon, the fractured patella has fully healed and Irving’s knee has been found to be completely structurally sound. Irving is expected to return to basketball activities in 3-6 weeks.
By the numbers, the Celtics are one of the worst offensive teams in the NBA without Irving on the floor, and need to rely even more on their league-leading defense to win games.
The Celtics will already be without Gordon Hayward (as they have been all season essentially) and Daniel Thiess and likely Marcus Smart for the 1st round, not having Irving makes them vulnerable.
They are essentially locked into the No. 2 seed in the east and could play the Heat, Bucks, Wizards, Pacers or even 76ers in the 1st round.
There is one team on that list that should give the Celtics real concerns in round one if they are unable to have Irving back on the court: the Washington Wizards.
John Wall will return in the coming days and they have the playoff experience to be able to pull off a 1st round upset against an injury ravaged Celtics team.
If the Celtics do survive round one, having Irving jump right back into the swing of things in a mega series with his former MVP teammate and the three time defending eastern conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers would be difficult.
It is better for the Celtics future if they allow Irving as much healing time as he truly needs, but they may feel pressured to bring back Irving for the first round of the playoffs if they want a shot at making the NBA Finals.
What will they decide?