Kyrie Irving will undergo shoulder surgery, ending his first year with the Brooklyn Nets.
Just wait ’til next year.
The old line used by Chicago Cubs fans to lament another lost season could be the refrain Brooklyn Nets fans are it was announced Kyrie Irving will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery. The Athletic’s Shams Charania was the first to announce the news.
Irving received a cortisone shot in his shoulder in an attempt to play through the injury but after consulting with a specialist, the decision was made to have surgery, according to Marc Stein.
Irving missed 26 consecutive games with a right shoulder impingement with Irving saying the pain began during the game against the Pelicans on Nov. 4.
“You either continue to get cortisone shots, which is obviously detrimental to your health and your muscles, or you go get arthroscopic surgery,” Irving said in December, via ESPN. “For me, it’s just about being able to go back out there after the right amount of rehab, the right amount of rest and recovery and see what we can do for the rest of the season and then reevaluate after a few months.”
When healthy, Irving was spectacular in his first season since arriving as a free agent with Kevin Durant.
Irving averaged a career-high 27.4 points per game, 5.2 rebounds and 6.4 assists in 20 games.
The Nets already knew Durant would miss this season as he recovered from his torn Achilles’ suffered in the NBA Finals, but the hope was Irving would be able to lead the team to the playoffs.
Despite the injuries that have kept Irving on the bench more than he’s been on the court, the Nets have remained in the playoff picture in a top-heavy Eastern Conference.
Brooklyn is in the No. 7 spot with a two-game lead on the Orlando Magic for the No. 8 seed and a five-game cushion on No. 9 seed Washington Wizards. The Nets should make the playoffs because the bottom of the east lacks a team capable of going on a run in the final quarter of the season.
When the Nets get Irving and Durant back from injury next year, they’ll finally be the complete team the team and fans envisioned when the duo signed last summer. Depending on what other moves are made in the draft and free agency, Irving and Durant alone will have NBA Finals expectations or bust placed on the Nets next year.