And just like that, Kyrie Irving is back! A week after the six-time All-Star took to the Barclays Center podium to suggest season-ending surgery was possible and two days after his first 5-of-5 practice, the Nets announced that Irving is probable for Sunday’s 6 p.m. game vs. Atlanta.
The news came after Irving had gone through his second 5-on-5 practice in the last seven weeks.
Adrian Wojnarowski was first to break the news, minutes before the official announcement.
Kyrie Irving is likely to make his return to the Nets lineup on Sunday against Atlanta, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 11, 2020
Three minutes later, the official announcement was posted.
Irving has been out since November 14. He’ll rejoin his two backcourt mates, Spencer Dinwiddie and recently returned Caris LeVert on the court for the first time since November 12, when LeVert went down with a right thumb ligament injury.
The news suggested that Irving’s physical therapy and a December 24 cortisone injection in his right shoulder had done the the trick. Surgery is apparently not needed at the moment, although Irving discussed the possibility he’ll need to go under the knife in the off-season.
So on Sunday, he and Trae Young, the two highest vote-getters among guards in All-Star balloting will likely face off at some point. AND Kenny Atkinson will likely have all his roster, save Kevin Durant, available for the first time in two months. WIlson Chandler and Garrett Temple remain questionable.
Irving talked Thursday about the guard trio’s potential.
“When I’m back and Caris is back, then we just figure out the offense and how to get our three-guard front to work really well,” Irving said. “The guys have done a great job. We’re doing the best we can. We’re going to make some tweaks offensively, but defensively, we’ve been pretty good.
It was only last Saturday that Irving faced the media for the first time in seven weeks and suggested that if the therapy and cortisone didn’t work, he was ready to face the possibility of season-ending surgery ... but noted that he was in a “better place.” Then, on Thursday, he surprised everyone by playing 5-on-5, with contact, in a Nets practice at HSS Training Center. He said then he hoped to be back within the week. He also disclosed that even before his press conference, he had been working with coaches and doing “extra work” as he built up to a possible 5-on-5 practice.
The Nets, who were 13-13 without Irving, broke a seven-game winning streak on Friday night vs. the East’s No. 2 seed, the Heat. Here’s the breakdown, from Bobby Marks...
Brooklyn goes 13-13 without Kyrie Irving:— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) January 11, 2020
* 4-8 vs. teams above .500
* 9-5 vs. teams below .500
Upcoming schedule: Atlanta, Utah, at Philly, Milwaukee, Philly and LA Lakers
Oh yeah, one other thing: Kenny Atkinson announced Thursday that Kevin Durant has been “progressing fantastically” in his rehab.
- Sources: Kyrie Irving expected to return to Nets lineup Sunday vs. Hawks - Malika Andrews - ESPN
- Nets’ Kyrie Irving expected to return in total about-face - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Kyrie Irving ‘likely’ to return to Nets lineup on Sunday vs. Hawks: report - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Is Irving returning to Nets? It’s probable - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Kyrie Irving (shoulder) expected to return for Nets on Sunday - Justin Leger - Yahoo! Sports
- BROOKLYN NETS KYRIE IRVING PROBABLE TO PLAY AGAINST ATLANTA ON SUNDAY - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets