First Kevin Love, and now Kyrie Irving. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ star point guard limped off the floor in overtime of Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, and the team announced Friday that Irving is done for the series with a fractured left kneecap that’ll require surgery. The recovery time is three-to-four months.
The Cavaliers were able to overcome quite a bit to get through the Eastern Conference Playoffs, but it’s just about impossible to envision this banged-up crew taking out the Golden State Warriors with both Love and Irving out. LeBron James will surely put forth his best effort, but there’s only so much he can do without his two star teammates against a team like Golden State.
These injuries are a brutal blow to a team that looked like it had a legitimate chance to bring home its first ever championship. Even without Love, the Cavaliers competed well in Thursday’s Game 1 loss, only to lose not only the game but their star point guard.
On an individual level, this is a huge bummer for Irving, who has been playing through pain most of the postseason and has dealt with injuries all throughout his young NBA career. He put forth a superb performance in Game 1 before getting hurt, scoring 23 points and doing an admirable job on the defensive end.
Matthew Dellavedova will receive a big bump in playing time with Irving out, and that spells bad news for Cleveland. Dellavedova has had his moments in the postseason, but he’s no match for the Warriors in a starting role. Simply put, this stinks.