ORLANDO – For the first time in seven weeks, Kyrie Irving contacted him about his injury. And it sounds like the fact that he can't help his team has frustrated him as much as his actual shoulder strain.
Irving hadn't played, practiced, or spoken to the press since November 14th. But on Saturday, the Star Guard finally explained how exhausting it was to face not only the injury itself, but also the uncertainty and fearful prospect of an arthroscopic surgery.
"I will be as open as possible: it is quite difficult to get injured at the beginning of the season, in the middle of the season, at the end of the season and during the playoffs." It will always be a mental strain, ”said Irving, 27.
"It's something that I've worked for at a very high level for most of my life, and I want to do it at the best possible level, that's greatness." If you are injured and your team needs you, of course you go home and you say: "Why am I not playing yet? When will that change? Where is the corner (to bend) and (healthy enough) to go out there and to play at a high level? "
"You go home, you eat your shoulder as much as you can. You try not to think too much about the past of all the other injuries you've been through and just attack rehab as well as you can. This is really the best way to break it down. "
The Nets – which will play in Orlando on Monday – brought friends Irving, Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan together. Irving confirmed the disappointment at the injury-related start of his partnership with Brooklyn and Jordan knows how difficult it was for his friend, physically and emotionally.
"It is difficult," said Jordan. "He is a competitor, he is a fighter, he loves playing basketball. We definitely need him on the floor, but at the same time we want him to be healthy."
Irving said the initial injury occurred on November 4 against New Orleans and worsened on the following road trip. He didn't do any road trips during rehab. Jordan says it is more frustrating for Irving to cut off.
“For him, the fact that he's out there takes only part of that frustration. If he just sat at home and watched the games on TV, it was (crap) frustrating, ”said Jordan. "It is difficult where you have to watch from.
“But when he's on the bench in the arena, here at half-time, before the games and after the game, talking to boys, motivating boys, telling boys what he sees on the bench from a veteran like that Champion, we need that. He knows it. We just want him to be healthy, but up here too. "
Jordan tapped his temple to imply that Irving was in a good headspace.
He knows Irving better than most others, friends who have won Rio Olympic Gold together since 2016. But Joe Harris was previously his teammate, who played in Cleveland from 2014 to 2016, and is fully aware of how difficult this was.
"Yes, it's only difficult from a psychological point of view. He's a competitor," said Harris. "He is one of the best players in this league and he wants to be out there with his teammates. He tries to come back, he does everything in his power to come back. And he keeps hitting other hurdles here and there.
"But at the end of the day, the most important thing is your health and you need to make sure that your body is okay before anything else. So none of us ask him to hurry back. You want him to be healthy and 100% comfortable But I know it's frustrating for him. "