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.
Nets' Kyrie Irving has medial ligament sprain in right knee and will be re-evaluated in one week.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 2, 2020
The Nets later confirmed Shams report.
MEDICAL UPDATE: An MRI performed this morning on Kyrie Irving’s right knee confirmed last night’s diagnosis of a medial ligament sprain. Irving will be re-evaluated in one week.— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) February 2, 2020
Then, Irving posted a note of gratitude on Instagram
Kyrie sends his appreciation after he left last night's game with an apparent injury. pic.twitter.com/Y91kv3pl2Z— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 2, 2020
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.”
- Kyrie Irving officially diagnosed with right knee sprain - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- Nets’ Kyrie Irving out at least week with knee injury - ESPN
- Kyrie Irving out at least a week with right knee sprain - AP
- Nets’ Kyrie Irving avoids serious injury after MRI - Coby Green - SNY
- Nets’ Kyrie Irving avoids the worst with latest injury woe - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Kyrie Irving injury uncertainty escalates pressure on Nets - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets’ Kyrie Irving’s MRI reveals sprained right knee ligament, but will avoid surgery - Greg Logan - Newsday