The Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t through with injuries yet. Kyrie Irving might be kept off the court until they’re completely sure it’s not too much of a risk to put him back out there.
Irving fractured his kneecap in game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals and underwent surgery, which is supposed to keep him sidelined for three to four months. But it now seems to be that the Cavaliers are taking extra precautions with his return, or perhaps, there’s something wrong with his rehabilitation.
The talk now is maybe keeping him out until January, which means about two months of basketball with LeBron James and Kevin Love carrying the team. But Love is also coming back from a rather serious injury. And the Cavaliers talked about giving James less minutes this season to keep him rested and fresh for the playoffs. And they have the same plan for Irving. Something in all this planning doesn’t sit right.
The playoffs are what matter, and even without home court advantage, the Cavaliers should be the best team in the Eastern conference when everyone is healthy. But as we saw last year, this team is mostly about how good James is and what happens around him. As it seems to be right now, the Cavaliers are once again going to ask him to carry them until they’re confident Irving is back to 100%.
There are those who think Irving will never be as good as he was before, and that a fractured kneecap remains something that hurts you this way or the other. But we’ve seen with other injuries that it’s very individual. Some ligament tears mean the end of a career for someone. Others, like Russell Westbrook, bounce back from it without a problem. The Cavaliers are obviously hoping there are no setbacks, only precautions, in Irving’s return, and that he comes back the same player he was during the second half of last season.