David Blatt: Kyrie Irving ‘gradually increasing his workload’
Kyrie Irving was spotted on the court following Sunday’s Cleveland Cavaliers practice taking part in a shooting drill in which he passed the balls to teammates. And while the point guard, who had surgery five months ago to repair a left kneecap fracture he suffered in Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals, isn’t close to playing just yet, Cavs head coach David Blatt did provide some encouraging news.
“He’s gradually increasing his workload, but I can’t say that particular period (after the Sixers game) will be significant in terms of his on-the-court work with the whole team,” Blatt said Sunday, via an ESPN report. “He’s gradually increasing his workload, and we’ll take him through the process necessary to get him back on the court with everybody.”
Blatt did add “Right now, I don’t have any. I don’t” when asked specifically what areas Irving is improving upon in his rehabilitation. A Cavs spokesperson, however, reportedly told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin that “Irving’s big-picture improvement has been in the areas of strength, conditioning and rehabilitation.”
While Irving’s limited participation in Sunday’s post-practice session is a positive development, expectations should be tempered somewhat by the fact he was outfitted with ice compression devices on both of knees.
It was reported in late August that the Cavaliers intended to be extremely cautious with Irving in getting him back into game action. It was also suggested at the time that Irving’s return could come as late as January.
The Cavaliers have opened the season 2-1 and that’s with LeBron James seemingly struggling through a nagging back issue that prompted him to get an anti-inflammatory injection — his third in 10 months — about three weeks ago, although he proclaimed he plans on playing in all 82 regular season games, something he has never done in his career.
James suggested recently that the Cavaliers won’t “be able to play at a high level” from the onset due to team injuries, Irving’s specifically. If the Cavs continue to win two out of every three games, there’s certainly no reason to rush Irving back, even if he is “gradually increasing his workload.”