The Celtics playoff and title hopes essentially went down the toilet on Thursday afternoon.
The team released a press statement with an update on Kyrie Irving’s knee injury, he will miss the 2018 NBA Playoffs and be out for the next four to five months.
“This Saturday, Celtics guard Kyrie Irving will undergo a procedure to remove two screws implanted in his left patella after the patellar fracture he suffered during the NBA Finals in 2015. Following a mid-March procedure to remove a tension wire that had been implanted at the same time as the screws, pathology indicated the presence of a bacterial infection at the site of the hardware. To ensure that no infection remains in the knee, the screws will be removed. The fracture in Irving’s patella has completely healed, and his knee remains structurally sound. He is expected to make a full recovery in 4-5 months.”
Cue every Celtics fan hanging their head in dejection or screaming expletives.
Irving also too time to reflect on the news in an Instagram post Thursday and wrote, “This season was only a snapshot of what’s to come from me.”
The hardest thing to do sometimes is accept the uncontrollable things life throws at you. You try consistently to learn, grow, and prepare everyday to equip your mind, body, and spirit with tools to deal with some of those things, but I feel when those moments arise they all give you a sense of unfulfillment, simply because it puts some of your professional journey and goals on a brief hold. It's simply a test of your perseverance and Will, to be present, even in the wake of what's going on. In this case, finding out I have an infection in my knee is definitely a moment that I now accept and move past without holding on to the all the what ifs, proving the nay-Sayers completely f***ing wrong, and accomplishing the goals I've set out for the team and myself. This season was only a snapshot of what's to come from me. Trust Me. "The journey back to the top of Mt. Everest continues." #StandingRockSiouxTribe Let's go Celtics!! Celtics fans, I look forward to hearing how loud it gets in the TD Garden during the playoffs and experiencing how intense the environment gets. Thank you all!
This is a huge blow to the Celtics who will be the No. 2 seed in the eastern conference playoffs, as it essentially removes any realistic possibility to reach the NBA Finals and makes them vulnerable for a 1st round upset, or at the very least being eliminated by LeBron James and the Cavaliers yet again in round two.
Irving will join Gordon Hayward and Daniel Theis on the shelf for a Celtics team nowhere near full strength for the 2018 postseason.
This is absolutely the right decision for Irving and the franchise long-term though as they have one of the youngest rosters in the NBA and are seemingly poised to be contenders in the eastern conference for the foreseeable future.
The bigger question is how this surgery will impact Irving long-term.
Will this force the Celtics to bring back restricted free agent Marcus Smart this summer or extend Terry Rozier? Will Irving lose any of the quickness or shiftiness and short area footwork and athleticism that makes him one of the harder players to defend in the NBA?
We won’t know the answers to any of those questions for months or years.
While this is a huge bummer for Boston, they still have Brad Stevens, Al Horford and a talented and defensive-minded roster. There is a scenario where they win round one and face a 76ers team without Joel Embiid in round two.
I doubt they can win three playoff series and LeBron James or the Toronto Raptors with their current roster though.