Here in the early part of the season, the Nets and Celtics appear to be on very different trajectories. The Celtics have been red-hot and holding down the No. 1 spot in the East until an overtime loss to the Clippers earlier this week allowed the Bucks to overtake them. Meanwhile, the Nets sit at 7-8 after a sluggish start as they deal with both injuries and integrating new roster additions. They’ve also been without their best player, Kyrie Irving, for the past four games, as he continues to recover from a shoulder injury.
Now, it appears they’ll have to wait a little longer for his return, as news emerged on Friday night that he would have to miss the Nets’ next three games. This includes what would’ve been his return to Boston, where he spent the last few seasons and had a somewhat acrimonious exit.
Kyrie Irving will not play against his old team, the Boston Celtics, on Thanksgiving eve because of a lingering shoulder injury, multiple sources told The Athletic.
Irving is dealing with a “right shoulder impingement” and has missed the Nets’ last four games, including a 116-97 win over the Sacramento Kings on Friday. Sources said Irving needs another week of rehabilitation, at minimum. If that holds, the earliest he would play is next Friday, when the Celtics visit Barclays Center. Irving left Boston as a free agent after two seasons last summer, one marred by injury and the other by tumult in the Celtics’ locker room, often surrounding him.
Irving’s Boston return most certainly would’ve resulted in a chilly reception from the Celtics crowd, at best, given the rumors that haunted the team over the last two seasons about locker-room discord that many believe led to his departure this summer. Outside of Boston, Irving will miss two other games on this upcoming road trip.
Nets evaluated Irvings right shoulder tonight and determined he will miss road trip that includes stops in New York, Cleveland and Boston. https://t.co/MafvDmrcyI
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 23, 2019
The Celtics are now dealing with injury issues of their own, after Kemba Walker, who essentially took Irving’s place in the rotation, suffered a scary injury on Friday night against Denver and had to be stretchered off the court and taken to a local hospital after exhibiting what was reported as concussion-like symptoms. Regardless, Irving will have another opportunity later in the season to face the Celtics home crowd, which likely still harbors some hostility to the star who spurned them after a contentious tenure in Boston.