INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Kyrie Irving has a broken finger, but could probably play. Like everyone else in the NBA, he really wants to play.
So why don’t let the Cavaliers just let him do it? After all, it’s only a hairline fracture in his left index finger. That’s not even on his shooting hand.
“Yeah, but if he gets this thing hit again, then it requires surgery and then instead of three or four (weeks), you’re talking about months,” head coach Byron Scott said. “I don’t think we’re being overly cautious by saying, ‘Let’s shut it down and see how it looks in a couple weeks and go from there.’ “
The Cavs’ doctors will indeed take another look at Irving in two weeks. While no one on the team is saying it, there’s a chance Irving could return then. Don’t get your hopes up — but it’s possible.
As for returning to the practice court, well, Irving has already done that much. On Tuesday, he was dressed in a sweaty t-shirt and shorts, his normal practice gear, and going through the normal shooting drills with fellow Cavs guard Daniel Gibson.
Irving’s left fingers were taped, but other than that, it seemed like business as usual.
Well, not exactly business as usual.
“He’s not getting (the finger) hit or anything like that,” Scott said. “Plus, he’s hard-headed.”
Irving has been injured off and on dating back to college. He’s great when he plays, obviously, but is having a hard time to staying on the floor for an entire season in his young career.
But again, part of that is because his employer is erring on the side of caution. That makes sense, as the Cavs are 2-8 and, as Scott indicated, they’d rather have a completely healthy Kyrie than some banged-up kid who’s playing less than his best, and not healing in the process.
That’s sort of what happened in Sunday’s loss at Philadelphia. Irving, in noticeable pain, scored a season-low nine points on 4-for-14 shooting.
More than that, he just didn’t display his usual dose of basketball heroism, particularly late in the game.
“It was just very frustrating against Philly; I knew I couldn’t play with it,” Irving said of the injury. “I couldn’t hold onto the ball, especially in the fourth quarter. That’s when I’m at my best, I just couldn’t put the ball in my left hand or make any moves.”
Irving leads the Cavs in scoring at 22.9 points per game. He leads them in assists at 5.6 per game. He is their heart and soul. He loves the game, it loves him, and he will do as much as he can to stay as prepared as possible.
“I can still get shots up every day and maintain my conditioning and come back ready to play,” he said.
Until then, the Cavs and their fans can probably take comfort in knowing that when Irving finally is ready, he’ll be completely ready. His broken finger will have healed.
If there is a dose of good news in all this, perhaps that right there is it.
• Scott said either Donald Sloan or Jeremy Pargo will start in place of Irving. Rookie shooting guard Dion Waiters will also lend a hand at point. Gibson has played the position, too.
• With a record a 2-8 and Irving set to miss some time, the Cavs aren’t overly concerned with wins and losses at this point. “We’re just trying to take baby steps,” Scott said. “The record is not my main concern. The main concern is to continue to get better. If we continue to get better, the rest will take care of itself.”
• The Cavs’ rematch with Philadelphia tips off at 7 p.m. Wednesday at The Q. Showtime on FOX Sports Ohio begins at 6:30.