A few weeks ago, Kyrie Irving had surgery that promised to keep him out until the start of the playoffs, at the earliest. Now, the Celtics have announced that he’s going to miss the entire postseason.
Via their release:
This Saturday, Celtics guard Kyrie Irving will undergo a procedure to remove two screws implanted in his left patella after the patellar fracture he suffered during the NBA Finals in 2015. Following a mid-March procedure to remove a tension wire that had been implanted at the same time as the screws, pathology indicated the presence of a bacterial infection at the site of the hardware. To ensure that no infection remains in the knee, the screws will be removed. The fracture in Irving’s patella has completely healed, and his knee remains structurally sound. He is expected to make a full recovery in 4-5 months.
Irving addressed the news on Instagram, as well:
Kyrie addresses his situation on Instagram. (With some words of encouragement from Isaiah in the comments) pic.twitter.com/YC5ftKCHjB
— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) April 5, 2018
That’s obviously horrible news for Irving, and for Boston; it means their two biggest offseason acquisitions in Irving and Gordon Hayward will have both ended up with season-ending knee issues, although with very different circumstances. At this point, just having Irving ready for some of the offseason and the preseason seems like it will be the bigger priority, and it also eases any pressure on Hayward to make a miraculous return for the playoffs, though that was never likely.
But more than that, it opens things up in the East, a conference that wasn’t exactly closed down to begin with. The Raptors have to feel as good as ever about their chances, but they’ve also been playing some shakier basketball of late, going 5-5 over their last ten games, although they’ve also had no real pressure to go for wins since the first Kyrie news, either.