Celtics' Irving to Miss Remainder of Season, Playoffs

Keep in mind that the Celtics also lost 2017 NBA All-Star forward Gordon Hayward to a broken ankle in the season opener.

Well, I mean, like I said yesterday, and really a couple weeks ago, I'm not surprised.

Irving was diagnosed with tendinitis a month before he broke his knee and he played through the pain barrier previous year and in the early stages of this season.

Irving reacted on Instagram, acknowledging he can't control the situation.

Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving will undergo surgery on his injured left knee Saturday and will miss the entirety of the upcoming National Basketball Association playoffs, the team announced Thursday.

According to the Celtics, a bacterial infection was found during the surgery at the spot where two screws are in place. Guard Marcus Smart last played on March 11, same date as Irving, and has been on a six-to-eight-week recovering timeline since undergoing surgery on a torn tendon in his right thumb.

Boston said the procedure removed a "tension wire" in the knee that was inserted to fix a fractured patella in 2015 but that it was structurally sound. He is expected to make a full recovery in four-five months, the team said. There was initially hope that he would return during the playoffs after having what the Celtics called a "minimally invasive procedure", but that is not going to happen. The wire had been placed there during surgery to fix a fractured patella in 2015, ESPN says. He tends to turn things up to 11 in the playoffs, and there's no reason to doubt he'll do that again this season.

Make no mistakes, the Celtics remain an incredibly risky team despite losing two of the league's better players, but the crew they have on the floor doesn't have anywhere near the experience Irving has.

However, the Miami Heat (No. 6), Wizards (No. 7), and Milwaukee Bucks (No. 8) are separated by just a half game. So there is no way to tell who the Celtics are going to face in the first round just yet.

Two things on that: First, Boston has proven over this recent stretch that it can still play with most any team, even without Kyrie.

And Celtics supporters have increased their hope the 28-year-old could return with Irving now ruled out. The good news is he is signed through 2019 on his current deal and has a player option for the following season.

But in the long term, Irving's latest injury also casts doubt on the project the Celtics have slowly, and expertly, been building in Boston. In the month of March, he averaged 18.9 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting 48.3 percent from the field and 46.7 percent from 3-point range. The Celtics had one of their best wins of the season over Toronto last weekend with Rozier leading the way, but that's a lot to ask for over a seven-game series. Without Irving, reason stands that the team could fall back on solid defense in an attempt to grind out wins.

On the night the Celtics acquired Irving in that blockbuster deal with Cleveland last summer, Danny Ainge went on a conference call with the media.

  • Julie Sanders