The shoulder injury that cost Kyrie Irving two months has flared up again and could jeopardize the rest of his season.
Irving wasn't with the Nets to take their first break after the All-Star break, but instead saw another specialist. It goes without saying that he won't be playing in Philadelphia on Thursday. The question is whether he will play the rest of the 2019-20 season or get the surgery that he decided against in December.
"He still has shoulder problems. He's going to see a specialist this week. That's about all I can tell you," said Kenny Atkinson. "I don't expect it to be available on Thursday. His shoulder continues to bother him. That is the extent for the moment. "
Irving has missed 33 of the Nets' 53 games this season, including the last five with a sprained knee.
He was 26 years old earlier this season when his shoulder was injured on November 4th. He visited a specialist in Arizona before finally – and reluctantly – got a cortisone shot on Christmas Eve.
At that point, Irving had a choice of a cortisone shot or arthroscopic surgery that could potentially end his season. He chose the former and knew that it was always a short-term solution. This period has apparently expired.
"I think the problem is shoulder at the moment. I think the knee got better, but the shoulder is now a problem, ”Atkinson said, revealing that Irving's injury continues to plague even though the guard tried to play it through. "Listen, it bothered him. Again, the shoulder is hard, I told you.
"I went through it and I just think it's turning it on and off where it bothers you on some days and on some days you feel good and on some days you don't feel good. So it came to one Point where we should go to another specialist and be sure of it, and that's where we are. "
Both the networks and Irving knew that they would come here someday. Back on January 4, Irving had indicated so much.
"The next step was a cortisone shot or an arthroscopic operation," Irving said at the time. “The cortisone shot lasts as long as possible. Either you continue to receive cortisone shots, which is obviously harmful to your muscles, or you have an arthroscopic surgery.
"It's just about being able to go back there after the right amount of rehab, the right amount of rest and relaxation, and see what we can do for the rest of the season, and reevaluate it after a few months."
Now the rest of the season is in doubt.
"Of course, someone who is such a great person, obviously the person you go out with every day is obviously worried about him when it comes to surgery and things like that," said Taurean Prince.
"But Ky is one of the most positive people I've ever seen when I knew him and met him since he signed. I'm sure it's just further proof of his book. It is time for others to take a step and be the players they think they want to join and try to win as many games as possible. "
Atkinson tried to avoid such questions.
When asked if or when he expected Irving to return, Atkinson replied, "We'll see. We'll get the information from the specialist." When pressed whether the guard was ready for the season, he replied: " I don't want to go there. I don't feel comfortable when I say that. "
After selecting Brooklyn with Kevin Durant, Irving signed a four-year contract for $ 136 million. He averaged a career high of 27.4 points and 6.4 assists, but only played 20 games in his first Nets season. He cannot play anyone else.
"I don't know how long he's been out except Thursday. We'll see what's going on," said Spencer Dinwiddie. "Of course, we only pray for his health. That's all you can do."