Kyrie Irving has played just 11 games this season, his first with the Brooklyn Nets. The star point guard has been dealing with a fairly mysterious “shoulder impingement” since early in the season.
At first, the Irving injury seemed to bond the team together to the point that many were openly wondering if the team was better off without him playing. In his absence, Spencer Dinwiddie has played at an All-Star level.
After a hot start, the Nets have really struggled. The team beat the Miami Heat on Friday night to snap a seven-game losing streak. They’re now just 17-20, and clinging to the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.
The team has been very tight-lipped about Irving’s status, with some suggestions that he could go under the knife. Instead, it now looks like his return is imminent.
According to ESPN’s NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, Kyrie Irving is “likely to return” on Sunday.
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
The Nets are facing the Atlanta Hawks, a very beatable opponent, tomorrow. Trae Young isn’t the easiest draw on the defensive end for Irving in his first game back, but you can say the same thing on the other end, as Young is one of the worst defensive guards in the country.
Just a week ago, Irving couldn’t lift his shoulder into his shooting motion, which was a very scary notion for the Nets. Hopefully this means he’s overcome that, and he isn’t being thrust into action prematurely, but there isn’t really an indication that the team, which has generally been pretty patient with things, would do that.
Irving was averaging 28.5 points, 7.2 assists, and 5.4 rebounds per game before he was injured. All would be career highs over a full season.
Tomorrow’s game tips off at 6 p.m. ET.