Are you buying Kyrie Irving’s shoulder injury? Kendrick Perkins isn’t.
Irving has missed the Brooklyn Nets’ last three games with a shoulder impingement and won’t play Friday night against the Sacramento Kings. There’s currently no timetable for the point guard’s return, but he could wind up missing next Wednesday’s game against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden.
This obviously isn’t sitting well with many Celtics fans, who would love an opportunity to boo Irving in his first game back in Boston since leaving in free agency to sign with Brooklyn this summer. And Perkins, who spent parts of eight seasons with the Celtics (2003 to 2011) and has been very critical of Irving dating back to last season, can’t help but wonder whether the shoulder injury is legitimate.
“He’s showing us who he is. This is Kyrie Irving,” Perkins, now an NBA analyst for ESPN, said Thursday on WEEI’s “Dale & Keefe.” “Think about this: All of a sudden, two weeks before he has to return to Boston, he’s injured. Right? Sounds like a setup plan to me. Like, ‘Oh, nah, I ain’t playing in this game.’ It probably was pre-rehearsed from the jump. He didn’t want to come back and face this. We’re looking at a guy that’s mentally — he’s not strong, mentally. And he’s proven it. He’s not strong. No matter how much he tries to have this Kobe Bryant mentality and all of this, he’s not like (that).”
Would Irving really fake an injury to avoid playing against the Celtics in Boston the night before Thanksgiving? Probably not. But folks sure aren’t happy about this development, which only feeds Perkins’ well-documented belief that Irving is a bad leader who wasn’t fit to guide the C’s.
After facing the Kings on Friday, the Nets (6-8) next play the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers before traveling to Boston for Wednesday’s much-anticipated showdown. The Celtics (11-3), meanwhile, finish a West Coast swing Friday night against the Denver Nuggets before returning home to face the Kings ahead of hosting the Nets.
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