Celtics' Irving needs knee surgery, out for playoffs
ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 06, 2018 07:25 AM
FILE - BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 30: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics stand for the National Anthem before the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on November 30, 2017 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
By Kyle Hightower, Associated Press
BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Celtics have spent most of the season adjusting on the fly. Now they will have to go through the playoffs without Kyrie Irving.
The star point guard will need surgery on his left knee and is done for season. The team on Thursday (Friday, PHL time) put his recovery time at four to five months.
Irving hasn’t played since March 11 (Mar. 12, PHL time) and says he won’t dwell on what might have been.
“The hardest thing to do sometimes is accept the uncontrollable things life throws at you,” he wrote in an Instagram post. “It’s simply a test of your perseverance and will, to be present, even in the wake of what’s going on.”
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!
In the upcoming surgery, two screws will be removed. They were implanted after Irving’s patellar fracture during the 2015 NBA Finals. Irving recently developed an infection at the site of the screws, and now they must be taken out.
Following his original procedure last month, the team had said the knee was structurally sound and the kneecap healed, but the wire had been putting pressure on the knee.
This is Irving’s first season in Boston after he demanded to be traded from Cleveland. And the player he was dealt for, Isaiah Thomas, is out for the year following hip surgery.
Irving believes his best basketball is ahead of him.
“This season was only a snapshot of what’s to come from me,” he said in his post. “Trust Me. The journey back to the top of Mt. Everest continues.”
This latest news isn’t surprising considering the tight recovery window Irving faced. But it is a blow to a Celtics team that had been playing well despite a run of recent injuries to key players. Boston will likely enter the playoffs as the No. 2 seed behind Toronto.
In addition to Irving, Marcus Smart is sidelined following right thumb surgery and Daniel Theis is out for the season after left knee surgery. And Gordon Hayward is not expected back as he recovers from his gruesome ankle injury in the season opener.
While Toronto will most likely enter the postseason with the East’s top seed, the conference was still considered to be wide open prior to Irving’s injury.
With Irving out, the Celtics will now need someone to be the sparkplug for a team that had been hoping to make a run at the conference title following last year’s loss to Cleveland in the conference finals.
Boston certainly takes a hit without Irving, but it has been making adjustments to its rotation for weeks. Irving has been out for the last 11 games, with Boston going 7-4 without him.
The hole his absence created has been filled nicely by reserve Terry Rozier, who is playing his best basketball in his third year in the league. He has appeared in 77 of 78 games, starting 13. He’s made the most of his extra floor time, averaging 11.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists — all career highs.
Others have stepped up as well.
Offseason pickup Marcus Morris averaged nearly 20 points a game last month and was key in Boston’s recent six-game win streak. Rookie Jayson Tatum has also hit a midseason stride, scoring in double figures in eight straight games before that streak ended in Wednesday’s loss at Toronto.
Veteran Al Horford and second-year forward Jaylen Brown have also had their moments over the second half of the season.
The question is whether a by-committee approach will be enough against potential first-round opponents, which could be Miami, Washington or Milwaukee.