Cavaliers preparing for month without Irving

Akron Beacon Journal


Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant was in attendance Monday night in New York to watch UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad’s college debut. Given the latest injury to befall their star, the Cavaliers now could be drafting high enough to select Muhammad next spring.

The Cavs put up a brave front Tuesday, but the reality is a 2-8 team riding a six-game losing streak just lost its best player for the next month.

The Cavaliers struggled to win with Kyrie Irving, now they’ll be forced to play roughly the next 20 games without him as his fractured left index finger heals.

“Big part of what we do,” coach Byron Scott said. “We’re going to miss him.”

Irving was shooting around after practice Tuesday, his left index finger wrapped in a splint. Irving said when he caught his finger on Darren Collison’s shoe during the loss Saturday to the Dallas Mavericks, he feared it was broken.

Initial X-rays taken after the game didn’t reveal the break, so Irving tried playing through it Sunday. He was essentially relegated to playing with one hand, shooting 4-of-14 and finishing with a season-low nine points.

The fracture was discovered in an MRI on Tuesday.

“I just knew it wasn’t a jammed finger,” Irving said. “I’ve jammed almost every finger on my hand, so I just knew when it started turning black and blue . . .”

Players have played with broken fingers previously, with Kobe Bryant famously playing through a gruesome knuckle fracture three years ago.

Scott said Irving might be able to play through the current injury, but he risks further damage to the finger that could require surgery and keep him sidelined for longer than a month.

Irving said he felt like he was playing one-handed in the loss Sunday to the Sixers.

“I kind of knew I couldn’t play with it,” he said. “I had one hand and I couldn’t hold onto the ball. Especially at the end of the game in the fourth quarter, that’s when I’m at my best, and I just couldn’t put it in my left hand or make any moves. It was frustrating.”

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