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Kenny Atkinson: Kyrie Irving out at least two more games

Kyrie Irving’s lingering shoulder issues will prevent him from seeing live game action for at least two more contests, according to Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson.

Irving, who has missed the last nine games, will not join the Nets on the team’s upcoming two-game road trip and instead will remain in Brooklyn to rehab his injury, Atkinson shared following Tuesday’s practice.

Irving’s slow recovery from a right shoulder impingement appears to have become a source of consternation for Atkinson.

“I think I used to get frustrated more,” Atkinson said, via Malika Andrews of ESPN. “I’ve had my moments of frustration because I want him back so bad. But you hear our performance staff and then you talk to Kyrie and then you get your mind to a place where that’s the smartest thing to do.”

The Nets have managed to post an impressive 6-3 record during Irving’s extended absence, and are 10-10 overall on the season. It goes without saying that having Irving go down with an injury — after already having suffered a setback in training camp — is a major disappointment for the Nets.

Irving just recently expressed eagerness about doing his part to help build team camaraderie, an encouraging sign given the presence of persistent rumors indicating that Nets brass were already growing weary of the mercurial superstar’s antics behind the scenes.

All that said, Irving will miss showdowns with the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday and Friday against the Charlotte Hornets at a minimum. Given the way his shoulder injury has lingered far longer than anticipated, it’s certainly not a sure thing Irving will play when the Nets host the Denver Nuggets back in Brooklyn on Sunday, either.