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In first comments since injury, Kyrie Irving raises possibility of season-ending surgery

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Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

In his first comments since shortly after his shoulder injury, Kyrie Irving raised the possibility of season-ending surgery to correct the impingement that has kept him out 22 games so far. Irving spoke in a surprise 13-minute press conference at Barclays Center just prior to the Raptors game Saturday.

Irving, who hadn’t spoke to the media since mid-November, said he has been rehabbing and recently had a cortisone shot. Now, Irving is waiting to see how the cortisone works. If it doesn’t, he’s prepared for surgery that would put him out for as long as four months.

“It just sucks man. It’s disheartening,” said Irving, asked about his situation. He did say that he’s in a “better place” now than he has been.

“The next step was to either get a cortisone shot or get surgery...I’m just doing to best I can to live off this cortisone and move forward if I need surgery in the future.”

Irving mentioned both shoulder impingement and bursitis in discussing his issues. The 27-year-old said he can’t lift his shoulder to get his shot up.

A somber Irving offered no timetable for his decision but suggested it could be two months before he and team decide on next steps. He noted that he has concerns about long-term use of cortisone.

Irving disclosed that he first felt pain in his right shoulder vs. the Pelicans on November 4 prior to the Nets western road swing in November when the injury worsened. His last game was vs. the Nuggets on November 14. Moreover, he said even if the cortisone works, he will probably need surgery down the road.

Here’s the full press conference...

Irving also responded to attacks from fans and others, including Paul Pierce and Kendrick Perkins.

“I can’t control what anyone says about me when I’m not talking or when I am talking or when I’m in an arena or when I’m not,” he told reporters. “People are going to say regardless whatever they feel. I respect that, but at the end of the day it’s entertainment, man. It’s changing,”

The Nets have been under considerable pressure from media and fans to provide an update on Irving.

In the past several days, the Nets have moved to add backcourt help. According to various reports, the Nets will add Chris Chiozza, a 5’11” point guard who has been playing for the Capital City Go-Go, the Wizards G League affiliate, and Justin Anderson, a 6’5” swingman who’s with the Raptors 905. Chiozza reportedly will be signed to a two-way deal, replacing 6’11” center Henry Ellenson who was waived Friday. Anderson is expected to be a 10-day signing.

In addition, Sarah Kustok says Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot is “somewhere in his 30’s” on the 45-day limit for two-way contract player. She noted that the Nets will have to make a decision one on giving TLC a standard contract.