Kyrie Irving sat for the entire fourth quarter of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 91-83 victory over the Utah Jazz on Thursday because of a sore left knee, but the guard said after the game it wasn’t a big deal. Irving told reporters, via cleveland.com, that his knee had been sore for 48 hours and tightened up while he was on the bench to start the final frame, so he approached LeBron James and said, “You got this?”
James answered in the affirmative, so Irving didn’t re-enter the game for precautionary reasons. He didn’t guarantee that he would play in the Cavs’ game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday, but he didn’t sound too worried about it.
“I’ll see my masseuse, get some treatment in the morning and take this four-hour ride to L.A. that we’re all dreading,” Irving said. “I’m hoping that I don’t have to miss any days, but if it really comes down to that, the bigger picture is way more important than a few days or what it’s going to be. But as of right now I’m fine.”
Cleveland guard Iman Shumpert was also on the bench for the whole fourth quarter, having injured his shoulder in the third quarter trying to dunk on Rudy Gobert and then enduring another collision on the next play. The Cavaliers called it a sprain; coach Tyronn Lue said it’s not serious and Shumpert will be day-to-day.
Cavs fans might be bracing for the worst, given the terrible luck the team has had with injuries this season. It appears, though, that they finally aren’t far away from having a full, healthy roster. Kevin Love returned to the lineup Thursday, a week after J.R. Smith made his first appearance since December. Kyle Korver, who has been nursing a sore foot, could play Saturday. If Irving and Shumpert’s injuries are indeed nothing to worry about, then Cleveland might be one of the deepest teams in the league pretty soon.