Reporting Daryl Ruiter
INDEPENDENCE (92.3 The Fan) - As if a 6-game losing streak wasn’t enough for coach Byron Scott and the Cleveland Cavaliers to deal with.
Kyrie Irving will miss at least the next 4 weeks with a fractured left index finger.
“I’m just glad, knock on wood, [it won't] keep me out for 6 months or anything like that,” Irving said. “I’m gonna miss a few games I’m aware of that but I’ve got to stay positive. Things happen in the game of basketball, obviously I can play but just being cautious right now.”
Irving sustained the injury during a 3rd quarter collision with Mavericks guard Darren Collison Saturday night and knew right away that it was more than just a bruise or jammed finger.
“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. I just thought it was a bad sprain, but it turned out to be broken.”
Irving and the Cavs originally thought it was just a bruise after initial x-rays came back negative and he played Sunday night at Philadelphia where he scored a season low 9 points.
“I couldn’t hold onto the ball, especially at the end of the game when I’m at my best,” Irving said. “It was frustrating.”
He clearly struggled handling the ball while the Cavaliers will likely struggle without him on the floor.
“It’s unfortunate that he’s out obviously,” Scott said. “He’s a big part of what we do and [we're] gonna miss him.”
Further testing Monday revealed the fracture which will not require surgery.
“It’s frustrating but [I] gotta get through it and stay positive,” Irving said. “I kinda had a feeling it was broke after I did it. I tried to play through it [but] it was just hurting me too much.”
The Cavaliers are off to a 2-8 start to the season and not having Irving available will make winning difficult for the next month but Scott sees it differently.
“It’s an opportunity for other guys and that’s how our guys gotta look at it,” Scott said. “We haven’t changed out outlook or how we look at going into games. The main thing is to go out there and compete and try to win basketball games. If Kyrie was in that would be our focus.”
Irving was on the practice floor Tuesday for non-contact work to shoot around leaving some scratching their heads as to why he would do that if the team says that he can’t play.
“He’s not getting it hit on or nothing like that,” Scott said. “Plus he’s hard headed.”
Scott did admit that keeping Irving out until the finger heals properly is to prevent further injury which then would require surgery and sideline him for months and not weeks.
“If he really gets this thing hit again, then he’d require surgery then it’s talking instead of 3-4 [weeks] you’re talking about months,” Scott said. “I don’t think we’re being overly cautious about saying, ‘Let’s shut it down and see how it looks in a couple of weeks and go from there.’”
It’s the latest injury for the NBA’s reigning rookie of the year who missed 15 games his rookie season – 2 with illness, 3 due to a concussion and 10 more because of a shoulder injury.
He broke his right hand during a summer practice when he slammed it in frustration against a padded wall during summer league play in Las Vegas but healed in time for training camp.
Irving played in just 11 games as a freshman at Duke because of a foot tendon injury, which took more than a year to heal completely.
Scott hasn’t decided who will take Irving’s place in the starting lineup. Either Jeremy Pargo or Donald Sloan will get the nod Wednesday night when they host the Philadelphia 76ers.