We all remember Kyrie Irving was the No. 1 pick of the Cavaliers out of Duke (despite missing most of his season there due to injury).
What fewer people know is that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is a graduate of Duke.
The two men had that in common and bonded over it as they have gotten to know each other over the years. Silver was at an NBA Cares event on Friday in San Francisco when the news broke, and Sam Amick of the USA Today spoke to Silver about the Irving news.
“First of all, from a personal standpoint, I’ve become good friends with Kyrie over the years. I traveled to South Africa with him and his Dad a year and a half ago, and I’m also a Duke grad (like Irving). So I’m devastated for him personally. You never like to see injuries, especially at this level, and right in the middle of our highest-profile series.
“Whether or not there’s more we can do to prevent injuries is something we’re very focused on. It’s always been part of the game — injuries happen, and they happen to high-profile players, they happen to guys who aren’t so high profile. Whether there’s better training practices, whether through better analytics, we can get a sense of what precise movements lead to injuries, whether it’s a function of the schedule are all things that we’re (looking at).”
The NBA eliminating the four games in five nights situations, and reducing back-to-backs, will help reduce injuries around the league while raising the level of play. Studies have shown that rested players are less likely to suffer injuries than ones that are physically tired.
But that wasn’t going to change this case.
Irving had more than a week off, and while he played more than 40 minutes in this game it was the first game of the NBA Finals. Irving pushed and wanted to get back on the court — and played well. The Cavaliers were in the mix and had a chance to win this in regulation. This is not the situation where you rest Irving, this is not a Tuesday night in January in Milwaukee.
Unfortunately, injuries happen.
And more unfortunately for the Cavaliers, they have had a run of them.