Kyrie Irving injury update: Nets star will undergo arthroscopic shoulder surgery, miss remainder of season

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant joined the Brooklyn Nets to much fanfare this offseason, but so far, the team hasn’t gotten much out of their two superstar additions. Some of that was to be expected with Durant missing the entire season due to a torn Achilles tendon, but Irving has also had serious injury problems of his own. And unfortunately for him and the Nets, they don’t appear to be going away.

After missing 26 games earlier in the season due to a shoulder injury, Irving returned to action in mid-January. He played in nine games and put together some magical performances, including 54 points in a win over the Chicago Bulls shortly after Kobe Bryant’s death. However, the pain in his shoulder has continued to bother him.

Now, Irving and the Nets are taking drastic steps to fix that. Irving will undergo season-ending arthroscopic shoulder surgery, Nets GM Sean Marks told reporters on Thursday. “Our goal is long term health here,” Marks explained. 

The especially troubling aspect of Irving’s situation, according to Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson, is that the pain isn’t the result of one single play or moment but rather something that’s been continuously bothering him over time, via ESPN.

“The shoulder is a tough thing,” Atkinson said. “I just think it was an on and off thing where it’s bothering you. Some days you feel good, some days you don’t feel good. But I think it got to the point it was, ‘Hey let’s see another specialist.'”

When asked whether he thought Irving was in danger of missing the rest of the season, Atkinson said he “did not want to go there.”

If there’s any silver lining for Brooklyn, it’s that it has actually been slightly better without Irving this season. The Nets are 8-12 in games that he plays in, and 17-16 when he sits. According to SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh, the Nets are winning plus-0.4 more games per simulation without Irving, which translates to a 2.4% increase in per game win percentage. Thus, the Nets are nearly two wins better without Irving over the course of an 82-game season, per Oh. 

With Kyrie Irving





Without Kyrie Irving










For Brooklyn this was always going to be a bit of a lost season considering Durant’s injury. Even so, Irving’s injury is worrisome in both the short and long term.  If this ends up being a season-ending problem for Irving, or even something that results in him not being 100 percent for the playoffs, the Nets have absolutely no chance in the first round. They’re probably going to lose to the Milwaukee Bucks or whoever gets the No. 2 seed anyway, but those games might not even be worth watching if Irving isn’t there and playing at an elite level.  

Beyond that, it’s just a bummer and further dampens the mood surrounding this grand plan in Brooklyn. It’s looking increasingly likely that they’ll have nothing to show for the first season with this new duo, and now both of their stars may have injury question marks heading into next season. 

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