CLEVELAND: Kyrie Irving will return to the starting lineup tonight after missing 10 games with a sprained right shoulder.
His minutes will be limited, although coach Byron Scott wouldn't disclose how many, and Scott said Irving may not play in all of the remaining games. But Irving was adamant he wanted to return and the medical staff assured the Cavs his shoulder is fully healed, so Scott said he is trusting his medical team and Irving that he is telling the truth.
Scott acknowledged he gave serious thought to just shutting Irving down for the season, but Irving was adamant about wanting to play.
"He's a competitor. He wants to play. He wants to be out there with his teammates," Scott said. "The one thing I did tell him was it doesn't mean you're going to play the rest of the season. There are still some games I might shut him down, but I do want to see him get out there and enjoy being with his guys."
Irving missed a total of 10 games with the shoulder injury, but it shouldn't have any impact on him winning the Rookie of the Year award.
Scott said he was apprehensive about putting Irving back on the floor with the Cavaliers eliminated from the playoffs long ago.
"But I've got to go with my gut and I've got to trust my guys," Scott said. "(The training staff) really think he's 110 percent better than he was when he came back the first time. And I've got to trust Ky. ... We wouldn't do this if we thought there was a big-time risk. Max and our team doctors really feel he's in great shape with the shoulder."
Alonzo Gee will miss his second game tonight with a sprained ankle. The Cavs called up Luke Harangody from the Development League to help add depth in the frontcourt. It's the third time Harangody has been recalled this season, so he is out of options and must remain with the Cavs for the rest of the season.