Kyrie Irving says he’s ‘doing a lot better’ but struggles to lift his shoulder for shot

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Just after Christmas, Nets coach Kenny Atkinson actively denied that Kyrie Irving — who has not played since Nov. 14 — had thoracic bursitis in his shoulder and would miss two-or-three more weeks. The Nets would only call it a “right shoulder impingement.”

Saturday, Irving admitted he’s dealing with bursitis in his shoulder and would miss more time. Like a couple of weeks (in addition to the 22 games he’s already missed). He’s gotten a pain shot and remains hopeful he can avoid surgery, but gave no timeline for his return.

The game against New Orleans was Nov. 4, Irving played in four games after that before the shoulder pain forced him to sit.

Irving admitted that with Kevin Durant out for the season, the idea of shutting it down and having the surgery crossed his mind. However, at 16-17 the Nets are currently the seven seed in the East and look like a playoff team. Irving said he wants to be part of that.

Brooklyn started 4-7 with Irving playing but had challenges integrating Irving as team leader, one very different from their previous culture. Since he sat out, the Nets are 12-10 with Spencer Dinwiddie as the point guard, moving the ball and stepping up. Dinwiddie has this season’s Nets playing like last season’s surprise playoff team in Brooklyn.