Report: Kyrie Irving might not play until January
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been notably tentative in bringing along star point guard Kyrie Irving from a fractured left kneecap suffered in last June’s NBA Finals. But now their caution may be bordering on the extreme.
According to a report by Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer published on Thursday, Irving’s recovery is progressing well, but he is unlikely to be ready for the season-opener against the Chicago Bulls on October 27. What’s more is that the report states that there is a possibility that Irving might not even return to action until January.
The three-time All-Star suffered the injury on June 4 and was originally given a timetable of 3-4 months. But for a guy who has famously suffered a myriad of upper and lower-body ailments throughout his basketball career, the Cavaliers have understandably proceeded very conservatively. Less than a week ago, it was reported that Irving would see reduced minutes heading into the 2015-16 season. Now he may really be seeing reduced action as an absence until January would cost him no less than 30 regular season games.
The ultimate goal is to keep Irving (as well as teammate LeBron James) fresh for a stretch run in the playoffs, and with the stacked amount of talent on their roster, Cleveland can afford to shelve Irving for such a significant period in order to ensure his health.
Cleveland’s signing of Mo Williams this offseason carries much greater magnitude now as the 32-year-old looks like the team’s everyday starting point guard for the time being. Williams averaged 17.2 points per game and 6.0 assists per game in 27 appearances for the Hornets last season, proving he still has a lot to offer. Cavaliers chihuahua Matthew Dellavedova is also in line for more minutes, with the possibility of some ball-handling duties for J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert as well.
The Cavs’ offense can be expected to fully shift over to LeBron James as the lead creator, but with the team wanting to limit The King’s minutes as well, head coach David Blatt may have to think outside of the box. Perhaps this is what helps him finally figure out how to use Kevin Love. Blatt has yet to tap into Love’s abilities to facilitate offense from the high post, a staple of his later days in Minnesota, and now may be forced to do so. Increased opportunities for Love to make plays from the elbow would be a blessing in disguise from this news.
But whatever direction Cleveland’s offensive identity opts to take, it’s time to start preparing for an indefinite future without Uncle Drew.