At this point in the season, with most teams having about a dozen games to go, if a key player is injured on a struggling team, he is usually just shut down for the season. There is no reason to risk more injury for meaningless games.
Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving is out with a sore shoulder right now but he is not shut down according to coach Byron Scott — if he can get back he will, reports Jason Lloyd at the Beacon Journal.
“I don’t care if there’s one game left in the season and you’ve won three, it’s still all about the competition and trying to win basketball games,” Scott said. “You’ve got to take a stand in there somewhere in just your love for the game. My man Herm [Edwards] said it best, you play to win the game, period. I don’t care how many games are left.”
“If he’s cleared medically and there’s still a season going on, I still have to see him in practice. Then after that it’s sitting down and talking to him and seeing how he feels and going from there,” Scott said. “Just because there’s six games left, I wouldn’t say, ‘We’re going to shut you down and not play you at all’ when I know he’s healthy and capable of playing.”
Let me be blunt here — bringing him back would be foolish. To be kind.
Nobody sane — and certainly nobody in Cleveland — should be questioning Irving’s competitiveness or desire. The reason you sit him is because to risk injury in meaningless games is foolish. Besides, a couple losses to help the lottery odds is not a bad thing. I get the whole “instilling a culture of competitiveness” thing but if you haven’t done that through camp and 90 percent of the season what the final few games isn’t going to matter.
My guess is we don’t see Irving again this season, but that is not a lock.