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Kyrie Irving has ‘medial ligament sprain,’ to be re-evaluated in a week

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Brooklyn Nets v Washington Wizards Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Kenny Atkinson was right: The Nets dodged a bullet. As bad as Kyrie Irving’s knee injury looked, the diagnosis is that he has a sprained right knee, as original reports suggested.

Shams Charania broke the news in a tweet late Sunday morning.

The Nets later confirmed Shams report.

Then, Irving posted a note of gratitude on Instagram

The Nets have three games this week: the Suns on Monday, the Warriors on Wednesday, both at home, and the Raptors next Saturday in Toronto. The Nets then play the Pacers in Indiana and the Raptors at home before going on an eight-day hiatus during the All-Star Break. Irving has already missed 28 games this season.

The diagnosis is the result of an MRI conducted early Sunday in New York. The Nets flew home from Washington Saturday night after losing to the Wizards. With 5:31 remaining in the game, Irving went down in pain following a tie up with Bradley Beal. Irving immediately grabbed his right knee, and was quickly assisted by the Nets trainer, Sebastian Poirier, who ran on to the court ... as did his teammates and coaching staff.

A medial ligament sprain that would need only a week of recovery apparently is a mild or grade 1 sprain, according to medical texts.

There had been concerns that Irving, whose right knee has been troubled over the course of his career, might have suffered a more serious injury, possibly involving a tear. That would have required surgery and ended his injury-racked first season with the Nets. But both Atkinson and Irving himself believed the injury was nothing more than a sprain after consulting with the Nets medical and performance team.

“I’ve done some things to my knee in the past, so I just wanted make sure my MCL, my ACL and my PCL — I just wanted to make sure the medical staff did their check,” Irving said Saturday in Washington. “And the most important thing was to make sure my ACL was fine. But it was just a weird, weird fall. Just felt like a lot of stretching and tension afterwards and it was just a bad fall.”

The injury came one day after Irving’s dazzling 54-point game vs. the Bulls at Barclays Center.

His teammates admitted they had been concerned about Irving’s condition in the immediate aftermath of the injury.

“Yeah obviously we know how hard he’s worked to get back from the shoulder,” said Spencer Dinwiddie. “So to go down with this and to see him on the floor in pain – and not know exactly what it is – everybody was apprehensive.”