CANTON, Mass. — Kyrie Irving’s right knee required season-ending surgery last spring, preventing him from taking part in the Boston Celtics’ run to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Irving said Monday at Celtics Media Day that his knee feels “great, honestly,” which is fantastic news for a C’s squad that finally has a healthy roster with the 26-year-old point guard and veteran forward Gordon Hayward both returning from season-ending injuries.
Knee issues limited Irving to 60 games last season, and he’s never played more than 75 in any of his seven NBA campaigns. But with the tension wire taken out of his left knee and the infection that sidelined him gone, the Celtics are hopeful he’ll return to his All-Star status with a clean bill of health.
“He’s a special player,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said. “His ability to score and make plays for others, (and) organize you on both ends is important. We’re thrilled he’s back. Looking forward to work. He’s put in a lot of work to get fully healthy, and you can tell. It’s been a really good summer for him. You can kind of tell by the way he’s carried himself.”
Irving averaged 24.4 points and 5.1 assists per game, while shooting 40.8 percent from 3-point range and 88.9 percent at the free throw line last season — his first with the Celtics.
His teammates, understandably, are very excited he’s back. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, a fellow Duke product who spent some time with Irving over the summer, can’t wait to get back on the court.
“I just love being out there with him,” Tatum said. “He’s a great player and teammate. I still get excited at some of the things he does on the floor. It never ceases to amaze me. Hopefully he can stay healthy and everyone can stay healthy.”