ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported Wednesday morning that Cleveland Cavaliers star point guard Kyrie Irving planned to make his highly anticipated return to the court on Thursday against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but Irving took it upon himself to say the report wasn’t true and that he wasn’t going to play.
Before returning to the court, Irving will have to pass a series of tests to prove his knee is ready to go. He fractured his kneecap in Game 1 of the NBA Finals in June, and the Cavaliers have been extra cautious with his recovery. He’s been cleared for full contact for over a week and reportedly hasn’t suffered any setbacks.
If the situation changes and Irving actually does suit up on Thursday, he’ll face a daunting task against Thunder star guard Russell Westbrook, who would certainly look to attack as much as possible. Westbrook and Kevin Durant have helped spur Oklahoma City to a five-game winning streak.
Cleveland has gone 16-7 without Irving and with several other players missing time with injuries, including Iman Shumpert. Shumpert just returned from a wrist injury, but he left Tuesday night’s impressive win in Boston with a groin injury.
Cavaliers head coach David Blatt expressed some concern about the injury, and Shumpert has already been ruled out for Thursday’s game against Oklahoma City. There’s currently no MRI scheduled, although that could change.