Irving questionable for Game 3 during injury-filled postseason

VIDEO: Blatt on Irving, Game 3

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio – Kyrie Irving, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ hobbled point guard, worked on his shooting at the team’s morning shootaround but still was listed as questionable to play in Game 3 Sunday against the Atlanta Hawks at Quicken Loans Arena.

Irving missed the second game of the teams’ Eastern Conference finals series Friday and hasn’t been fully healthy since spraining his right foot early in the first round against Boston. Of course, teammate Kevin Love suffered his dislocated left shoulder in the finale against the Celtics, leading to postseason-ending surgery.

The Hawks got similar bad news Saturday when sharpshooter Kyle Korver was ruled out for however long Atlanta stays alive, his right high-ankle sprain from Game 2 requiring more recovery than the Hawks have time this spring. DeMarre Carroll, their primary defender against LeBron James, is trying to play on a badly sprained knee – “It’s a leg,” he said again Sunday when asked for an update – and another key perimeter defender, Thabo Sefolosha, has been out with a leg fracture since an incident with New York police last month.

Injuries have played a big enough role in these playoffs that the catch phrase “last team standing” might apply literally this year. Perhaps more than ever, the NBA championship could go not necessarily to the league’s best team but to the one least derailed by bad breaks. And sprains, strains and tears.

“Obviously, going into the postseason and going through the postseason, health is always the No. 1 thing,” Cavs star LeBron James said Sunday. “Luck comes into play a lot – you get lucky – and then [it’s] the team that’s playing at the highest level, that’s playing great basketball.”

Out West, Golden State has been playing without backup forward Marreese Speights (calf). Houston has done without guard Patrick Beverley (wrist) and forward Donatas Montiejunas (back), while center Dwight Howard has been touch-and-go daily after a knee sprain.

But the Cavaliers aren’t feeling any more sorry for the others – despite James’ back-pat gesture to Carroll when the Hawks guard was helped off late in Game 1 – than those rivals are for Cleveland. Even James has been playing through dings that have been noticeable on the court, including an ankle he rolled and a sore back he endured against Chicago.

Asked about setting an example in playing through pain for younger teammates such as Irving, James said: “I can’t speak on someone else’s injury. Everyone’s body is different. For me, if I felt like I was hurting the team, then I shouldn’t play. But if I felt like I could give something to the team, I wanted to be on the floor. Obviously I’m playing trough injuries right now, multiple injuries right now. I mean a lot to this team and I understand my presence, and if I can give something, I’m going to be out there.”

James added: “We haven’t been the healthiest. Had a little luck here and there. But we’ve been playing at a high level. So we’ve got like one-and-a-half out of the three.”

Kind of like having a sturdy James, the scaled-back contributions of Irving and no Love. One-and-a-half out of the three.


  1. Fefe (Nets) says:

    Stop it.

    First of all, LeBron is one of the greatest.

    However, how come there’s no foul called on James when Teague drove to the basket (touched his arm very slightly and grabbed him even before)???

    2nd: Game 5, Chicago vs Cleveland & series tied 2-2; Flagrant 2 on Taj Gibson while nothing relevant against Dellavedova.
    Pau was already out with an injury: critical decision & then Cleveland went on to win the game and the series

    3rd: Horford flagrant two tonight; nothing on Dellavedova???? Again? Why? Answer: it’s Cleveland!!! Give’em any edge or advantage possible (even if they don’t need, they already have LBJ) just to make sure that they advance.

    Btw, even if it wouldn’t have changed nothing: only 2 games against JR Smith with this smacking of Jae Crowder? Nothing against Perkins? What a joke.

  2. truth says:

    im amazed at how deladova dives at opponents knees everytime theres a loose ball

  3. Abe says:

    I am amazed at how far Lebron has carried this team on his back. He is unstoppable on close to 90% of his plays. Truly playing as the king.

  4. harriethehawk says:

    This may not make a big difference for the Hawks series, but the Cadavaliers can’t win a championship without Love AND Irving. Let’s Go Hawks!!

  5. Warren Cobbs says:

    I have been watching the NBA for 4 decades and i have never seen a Super Star like Lebron Jjames be treated so badly by the refs, Unlike Micheal Jordan who got away with everything it seems like tony brothers can’t wait to charge James or over look the obvious. If only they had their 1st Amendment Rights. Personally Jordan could”nt handle James 1 on 1 he’s to light in the pants.Get well soon Kyrie you can’t be replaced, Thank God for T-Top,J.R,Shumpert and the rest of the TEAM keep up the MAGIC Lebron . . .

  6. LeBron is the best in the world–period!