So, um, this is a little depressing. Worrisome, too.
Kyrie Irving left the Boston Celtics’ Sunday loss to the Indiana Pacers with soreness in his left knee and is expected to miss some time as he rests up for the playoffs. That’s fine in a nutshell. The Celtics won’t catch the Toronto Raptors for first place in the Eastern Conference, but they’re also in no danger of forfeiting the No. 2 seed. They have the luxury of resting him without immediate consequence.
But it turns out this might be a recurring, long-term issue for Irving. Speaking on 98.5 The Sports Hub, Celtics president Danny Ainge said his All-Star point guard may ultimately require surgery on his left knee (via MassLive’s Jay King):
Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said star guard Kyrie Irving could ultimately need surgery on his sore left knee, but is expected to be “fresh and healthy” for the upcoming playoffs with a positive long-term prognosis. . . .
“There was a lot of discussion (at the time),” Ainge said Thursday during his weekly interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich. “And that was a big part of it going forward too was Kyrie had the injury. So we knew there would be maintenance issues, but his long-term prognostication is good. He’s going to have some maintenance issues here and there. We knew coming into this year that he probably wasn’t going to be an 82-game guy. He was going to be a 72-, 75-game guy in order to keep him fresh for the playoffs. And thats what it’s been. And we’re just extra cautious. We have the good fortune of being extra cautious right now. And we want him fresh and healthy. And we think that he will be come playoff time.”
This is a good news-bad news situation.
On the one side, it’s great that Irving should be ready to rock for the playoffs. The Celtics need him. Gordon Hayward probably isn’t going to play again this year, and Boston doesn’t have another proven face-up scorer without Irving in the mix.
On the other side of the fence, the prospect of surgery is never particularly comforting. Irving’s left knee already went under the knife, back in 2015. Another procedure wouldn’t exactly spell good times with him slated for free agency in 2019.
Ainge, to that end, didn’t specify when Irving would need the surgery. He left the entire thing open. Hell, maybe Irving never even needs to have surgery. But his status moving forward, both this season and beyond, is definitely something to watch, given how much he means to Boston’s immediate and big pictures.