Cavs PG Kyrie Irving is banged up right now. He’s got a strain in his right foot and tendonitis in his left knee. But when he was asked about the possibility of resting his ailing body, Kyrie told reporters he has never even considered it.
Why? “Mentally, I can’t do it. I can’t look myself in the mirror and sit on the bench or sit in the locker room while I watch my teammates go out there,” Irving said.
More, from Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
Irving’s injuries started to show in the Cavs’ past two games in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Chicago Bulls. He shot a combined 5-for-23 from the field and handed out just two assists in the two games, telling reporters he was limited by a lack of acceleration.
Still, Irving totaled 79 minutes in the two games, at times acting as a decoy and still commanding the defense’s attention even in his compromised state. He said he won’t allow himself to consider sitting out a game at this point after all he’s been through already.
“If the consideration is now, then, I mean, I should have been sitting out maybe about four games ago,” Irving said. “I just … I can’t do it. Mentally, I can’t do it. I can’t look myself in the mirror and sit on the bench or sit in the locker room while I watch my teammates go out there.
“I’d rather give 30 percent, 40 percent, rather than give none at all. I just literally can’t do it. I can’t sit on the bench and be hurt and be OK with that. And still, I still know I can be effective. So whether I got to the free throw line eight times [like he did in Game 3, going 8-for-8], which I’m still happy about … My jumper may not be falling or the legs under me, but I’m just going to continue to just go.”
Cavs coach David Blatt said he was “hopeful” that Irving could improve as the playoffs continue but was realistic about the injuries that his point guard is battling.