Kyrie Irving missed Monday night’s game against the Chicago Bulls with left knee soreness, and Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters the point guard could be sidelined “through the week.”
The injury isn’t considered a serious issue, by any means. But the organization is being very careful with its franchise player, something with which Irving sounds completely on-board given he underwent surgery on the same knee after fracturing his kneecap while playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2015 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.
“Just been about two years coming off knee surgery, so just you have to do things like that and just stay on top of it and make sure that you’re doing the right thing,” Irving told reporters Monday. “Sometimes it may be a little bit extra, just from the demand you put on your body and then also the realization of how much basketball you’ve actually been playing for the last few years and the level which you demand your body to play at.
“It’s part of the game. I think that’s the luxury of being in the regular season and having times where you can kind of put yourself first and just take care of yourself, and then go from there.”
The Celtics were met with little resistance Monday night in Chicago despite Irving’s absence, as they started with a bang and cruised to a 105-89 victory over the Bulls. Next up is a road date with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday, after which the Celtics will return home to host the Indiana Pacers on Sunday.
Every win obviously is important with the C’s (45-20) trailing the Toronto Raptors (45-17) by 1 1/2 games for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, but securing the No. 1 seed isn’t nearly as important as having a healthy Irving come playoff time. Irving dealt with soreness during Saturday night’s loss to the Houston Rockets, according to Stevens, and the C’s clearly didn’t want to take any unnecessary chances.
“I just want to make sure I’m as healthy as possible,” Irving said Monday. “At this point in the season, it’s just about the big picture. I’m just trying to stay smart and kind of get out of my own way, and when it feels good, just get back out there.”
The Celtics aren’t rushing their best player. Nor should they.
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