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The Mass Media

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How Kyrie Irving’s Knee Impacts the Team

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The Boston Celtics’ shamrock logo.

Recently, when we first heard that Kyrie Irving was experiencing some soreness in his left knee, the popular opinion was that he would take a few games off and then come back at full strength before the playoffs. That later changed to more than just a few games, and now it’s at the point where he’s out for at least three to six weeks, which could take us into the first round of the playoffs. A once promising year for the Celtics could be in jeopardy depending on the health of their star player, who they traded for in the offseason.
Irving has dealt with injury issues all the way back to his days at Duke in 2011, where he only played 11 career games due to a toe injury. Despite playing only one third of the season, he was still the number one pick in the NBA draft. In game one of the 2015 NBA finals against the Golden State Warriors, he broke his left kneecap and was forced to undergo surgery. Although the surgery was a success, he was left with two screws in his knee and was informed that this could be problematic and painful down the road in his career.
Now, three years later, the screws have begun to aggravate Irving and have unfortunately sidelined him. Most reports say that this is really a pain tolerance situation. No further damage is going to be done if he plays; however, he could go through a lot of pain while playing. In order to alleviate the pain in his knee, he decided to undergo a minimally invasive procedure. Initially, the belief was that they would just clean out some cartilage and essentially clean up whatever was wrong in his kneecap. We have now learned from a press release that the procedure was to remove a tension wire that was placed there as part of the previous surgery. This is supposed to make him feel better; however, it’s obviously tough to determine how his knee will be in three to six weeks after having the wire removed.
The tough question that the Boston Celtics are now faced with is whether they should shut Irving down for the rest of the year. In reality, everyone around the league knows that the Celtics’ window for winning an NBA championship is wide open with all of their young talent. Most would also say that even if the entire Golden State Warriors team was at 100 percent right now, it would still be the their title to lose. Whether or not the Celtics believe they can win, the only factor that they should use to judge whether to shut him down is what both the doctors and Irving say. If the medical staff says he’s ready to come back and no further damage will be done and he himself says he feels fine, then he should play. If any of those things are a question mark, he should absolutely take the rest of the year off to recuperate and come back at full strength next year.
Many Celtics fans are now also going to pay close attention to Stephen Curry’s recent MCL sprain that is going to sideline him through at least the first round of the playoffs. The Warriors are seen as really the only unbeatable team in the league, so if they are vulnerable without one of their stars, maybe it is more apt for the Celtics to push Irving back. As previously stated, the smart move is to not worry about anything else other than what the Celtics themselves can control. If he’s healthy, he should play. If he’s not, he should come back ready to go at the start of the 2018-2019 season.