Celtics Shutting Down Kyrie Irving for the Rest of the Season

ESPN – In the aftermath of left knee surgery, All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics will miss the rest of the regular season and playoffs, league sources told ESPN. The Celtics are expected to make an announcement soon, sources said. The Celtics and Irving are evaluating further medical options to treat his left knee, sources said.

Well, shit. For a season that was once so promising with the shiny new additions of Kyrie and Gordon Hayward, its only fitting that it ends with yet another injury. This team has been a MASH unit all year long. Just the other night they had their top FOUR point guards out. Hell Jayson Tatum has been running the point the past few games.

A few months back I couldn’t believe the Cavs would deal Kyrie for a package that featured an injured Isaiah Thomas. Well, it seems like Kyrie’s knee has been a ticking time bomb that Danny has fully admitted he knew about before making the deal. So this season is a wash as both IT and Kyrie will end the year on the DL.

Its a real goddamn bummer too because even without Hayward the Celtics looked poised to finally get over the hump in Cleveland to earn their right as sacrificial lamb for slaughter by the Warriors in the Finals. But that right has been taken away from us. Unless Scary Terry averages 30 a night in the playoffs, I don’t see a team of Al Horford, Shane Larkin and a couple of 19 and 20 year olds making a serious run in the playoffs.

So the next truly meaningful Celtics game won’t take place until October. Um, we hope. A friend of mine immediately challenged that notion asking do we really think Kyrie will be ready by October. He’s right, we have no idea. What was originally knee discomfort that was supposed to be helped by rest alone. The Celtics went out of their way to say that Kyrie’s knee was “structurally sound” whatever that means looking back.

That turned into a surgery to just remove a wire to alleviate said discomfort and Kyrie was expected back in the playoffs.

Now he’s being shut down out of nowhere, which means the discomfort hasn’t gone away and an even bigger surgery is a distinct possibility. Long term, if Kyrie is back halfway through next season and everyone is healthy for the playoffs next year then thats fine I suppose. But next year is also the last year of Kyrie’s contract and the Celtics will now have to make the decision of whether or not to offer a max contract (they have to) to a guy with less than 2 full seasons played in Boston due to injury. Not ideal.

This is an incredibly fragile fulcrum point for the next chapter of the Boston Celtics franchise. If Kyrie comes back next year and is back to near full health, Hayward is the desperately needed 2nd All-Star and No. 2 scoring option for the C’s, and Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum continue to develop then the C’s are in prime position to make a run at a title or two.

Or Kyrie’s knee continues to be chewed up dog food and the Celtics are banking on Hayward and a suddenly 32-year-old Al Horford with Brown, Tatum, and Rozier rounding out the roster. Thats a solid 4 seed. Thats not a championship winning team. That puts the Celtics right back into no-mans land and has them considering grinding it out and hoping Brown or Tatum improve enough to be THE guy and lead a veteran team backed by Horford and Tatum. Unlikely. Or they push the last of their chips into the table and take a home run cut on a mega deal for a guy like Anthony Davis or Kahwi Leonard.
Either way, April 5th, 2018 will be a clear line of demarcation to look back on and see that was the day when the Celtics went one of two ways.

UPDATE: Kyrie is getting surgery and will be out 4-5 months. That would put him back on track for the start of next season, but we’ll see.

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