Irving's knee hurts Celtics playoff hopes

Howard TerryApr 08, 2018

It's a tough matchup that would get even more hard for Boston with Kyrie Irving not around, but the Celtics do not have a choice but to go forward. #StandingRockSiouxTribe Let's go Celtics!

Give Irving credit for this: The 2017-18 season has definitely been insane for the Celtics and their emotionally-drained fans.

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

A release later came from the team, announcing that Irving will undergo a second procedure Saturday to remove to screws from his left knee.

Irving underwent a procedure to remove a tension wire in the knee on March 24, which was set into his knee during surgery to fix a fractured patella suffered in the 2015 NBA Finals.

On March 24, the 2016 National Basketball Association champion underwent what the Celtics described as a "minimally invasive procedure" to remove a tension wire that was inserted in his left knee three years ago, indicating he would be back within three to six weeks.

According to ESPN.com, which cited unidentified sources, the Celtics and Irving were evaluating "further medical options" to treat the troublesome knee and that apparently referred to removing the two screws. The wire was placed in Irving's knee after he suffered a broken kneecap in the 2015 NBA Finals. He is averaging 21.6 points per 36 since Irving last played on March 11.

The list of National Basketball Association stars whose career has been derailed by lingering knee issues is long and Irving could have jeopardized his future by playing through the pain barrier.

Gordon Hayward fractured his ankle within five minutes on opening night and Daniel Theis has also been ruled out for the season after tearing the meniscus in his left knee.

It's been a six-month roller coaster ride for the Celtics. With Hayward out, the responsibility that was supposed to be on the star forward's shoulders has instead fallen to the pair of number three overall draft picks - and they have often thrived. March was indeed a good month for the 5-foot-10 guard, averaging 7.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists while shooting 40.9 percent from the field and 48.0 percent from 3-point range. But now that Irving is all done, the season feels lost once again.

Boston, who have battled with iknjury problems all season, will likely enter the playoffs as the No.2 seed in the eastern conference. Boston could face the Miami Heat, the Washington Wizards or the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round.

A few weeks ago, Kyrie Irving had surgery that promised to keep him out until the start of the playoffs, at the earliest.

Scarier than any of that for the Celtics is the long term health of the 26-year-old Irving.

As we've gotten deeper into this season, the impact of Morris on this Celtics team has grown. That means the Celtics have time to see what their prized point guard looks like and test his health before deciding to commit more money and more years to him. Conversely, Russell Westbrook, Jason Kidd and Dwyane Wade have all come back from serious knee injuries and there is no reason why Irving can't follow their example next season.

LeBron has played in the last seven NBA Finals, and this news is a major boost to Cleveland's hopes this year. The team will probably not want to risk re-injury, especially now that Irving will be out. But make no mistake, the concerns are alarming.

There are factors that have to come into play, the kind that will determine just how close they can come to having that magical season so many anticipated way back in training camp.

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