Report: Kyrie Irving has been ready to play for a week

AP
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Kyrie Irving could return from injury against the Thunder on Thursday, or more likely, the 76ers on Sunday.

But, if the Cavaliers point guard has his way, he’d reportedly already be back.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

A source familiar with Kyrie Irving’s rehabilitation told ESPN.com the fifth-year guard is “ready to play” both mentally and physically and has been that way for about a week.

Irving has indeed been pestering the coaching staff and front office to allow him to return to the point that he has become “pissed off,” according to a source.

a source familiar with the Cavs’ thinking told ESPN.com he wouldn’t mind if Irving sat out until February if it meant his chances of being healthy for an extended playoff run would increase.

The Cavaliers are wise to be patient until Irving is fully healthy. An Eastern Conference-best 15-7, they’re fine without him for now. Their primary goal is obviously a championship, and they can’t win that in December or January.

But they also can’t keep Irving on the shelf once he’s cleared. He’s competitive, and it could be too damaging to make him so unhappy for so long.

There’s a difference between “ready to play” and fully healthy. The former means Irving can contribute in games. The latter means he’s not facing additional risk of re-injuring himself.

Cleveland should hold – and apparently is holding – Irving to that higher standard before he plays. Even then, it seems he’ll return sooner than later.