Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving is currently in the process of rehabilitating from a fractured knee cap that he sustained during Game 1 of last season’s NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, and Irving’s latest malady has many branding him as an “injury prone” player. Irving has missed 22% of regular season games in his first four seasons, and has nursed injuries to his ankle and shoulder in addition to his knee.
During an appearance on CBS Sports’ Doug Gottlieb Show, Irving tried his best to dispel the notion that his body is “fragile,” and he presented listeners with a valid argument.
“Everyone’s going to formulate their own opinions based on injuries,” Irving said. “You think about injuries whether they have them when they’re young, or old, or in the middle, it’s part of the game. For me, I know exactly what I’m doing in the weight room and exactly what I’m doing to prepare myself for the court, and if something happens, that’s just part of the game. If I go out there and bump knees with someone and get a knee contusion and have to miss a game, and then I sprain my ankle, those aren’t things that can be planned. You just do the best you can to prevent it.
“For me, everyone putting in the notion of breaking down, I’m nowhere near close to breaking down I can be completely honest with that. I’ll just let my game on the court and my work ethic speak for all that. I’ll never not put myself in a position to be successful for my teammates and for my organization. I could see if I wasn’t putting in 100 percent effort in doing everything possible to prevent injuries, then cool, everyone can have their opinion and I’d start believing it. But no way will I start believing that my body will break down and I can’t be better every single year.”
It was announced several days ago that doctors have permitted Irving to do intensive weight-bearing activities, and he even alluded to his return, even if specifics on the date were vague.
“Whether (my return is) in December, or whether that’s in January, I have to eventually test out my knee against competition,” Irving said about the idea of being overly cautious.
When being relegated to the bench due to injury is a commonality, fans are going to deem you as “injury prone.” Whether this is fair or not is another discussion, but to say Irving’s body is breaking down is asinine. At only 23-years-old, Irving still has ways to go before his body begins to deteriorate, but another major injury may accelerate that process.
Injuries are an unfortunate part of the game, and we’ve seen them best the likes of Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady, Greg Oden and Brandon Roy just to name a few. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ title hopes hinge on Irving’s health, so hopefully this season it’s not an issue.