BOSTON — Kyrie Irving has had to sit and watch while his current team — the Boston Celtics — battle his former team –the Cleveland Cavaliers — in the Eastern Conference finals.
Irving has missed the entire postseason after undergoing an operation on his knee in early April and he has been ruled out for the remainder of the season. The 26-year-old star came to the Celtics via an offseason trade with Cleveland last August and undoubtedly had looked forward to what seemed like an inevitable matchup with his former mates in the NBA playoffs.
But the star guard has had to watch the young Celtics defy the odds this postseason from the sideline. Boston enters Wednesday night’s crucial Game 5 against the Cavs two games away from an improbable NBA Finals berth, and while some highly-paid hot take artists have suggested this run has negatively impacted Irving, head coach Brad Stevens put those rumblings to rest.
“In our sitdowns, and I obviously see him regularly, in our sitdowns or just our casual conversations he seems to be in a great place,” Stevens said prior to Game 5 at TD Garden. “You know, it’s killing him to not be out on the floor, but I think that would be the case, obviously, anytime you’re playing this deep into the playoffs, especially in a new place. But other than that, his recovery is going great and we’re excited about that. He seems to be in a good place.”
Irving was brilliant in his first season in green, averaging 24.4 points and 5.1 assists on 49.1 percent shooting in 60 games for the C’s and will be a cornerstone of the team going forward.
But for now, he only can cheer on his teammates as they try to take the Eastern Conference crown from LeBron James and the Cavs.
Thumbnail photo via Erik Williams/USA TODAY Sports Images