LAS VEGAS: Kyrie Irving will miss the summer league season after fracturing a bone in his right hand during the Cavs’ morning practice on Saturday. He is flying back to Cleveland today and will need surgery to repair the break. He is expected to miss six to eight weeks, but should be healthy for the start of training camp in October.
Irving was upset with himself after turning the ball over in practice, and he smacked his hand into the padding on the wall. The padding was thinner than he thought, he said, but it didn’t hurt right away and he kept playing. Then his hand was hit again a few minutes later, and he took himself out.
“I’m a little disappointed for a freak accident like that,” Irving said. “I have to be more responsible about my health. It was crazy. It happened so fast. That thing I did, hitting the padding on the wall, I’ve done it so many times. This time it was just a freak accident.”
It’s a disappointing blow to the start of a summer schedule that was brimming with optimism. Irving played with the U.S. Select team last week and had been looking forward to participating in the summer league since the middle of last season.
He led the Cavs in scoring, but missed a total of 14 games last season with a concussion, shoulder injury and illness. He also missed most of his only season in college with a toe injury.
“It’s not bad luck. I’ve done a few things in that time between me getting hurt,” Irving said. “It’s not bad luck, it just happens. Plays happen. They’re uncontrollable.”
The Cavs haven’t had any discussions about replacing him on the summer league roster. They still have Donald Sloan and T.J. Campbell as pure point guards, and Dion Waiters has experience handling the ball, too.
Scott stays neutral
Cavaliers coach Byron Scott wouldn’t pick a winner in the Kobe Bryant/Kyrie Irving one-on-one challenge that exploded across the Internet on Friday. In the video that quickly went viral, Bryant and Irving made a $50,000 bet for a game of one-on-one.
Scott obviously has great affection for both men, given his ties to both organizations, and remained neutral.
“If Kobe doesn’t miss, he’s going to be hard for Kyrie to beat,” Scott said. “But if he misses his shot and Kyrie gets the ball, it’s going to be interesting. I don’t think Kobe can stay in front of this young man. Not now, especially at Kobe’s age now. If Kobe was five or six years younger, I’d pick Kobe right away. But I don’t think he can stay in front of [Irving].”
Irving said he wasn’t surprised when the video shot across the Internet and even landed on SportsCenter, but he isn’t sure if the matchup will ever take place.
“I’m not sure, right now that’s not even in my focus,” Irving said. “Somehow my viral status has grown over the last week and a half.”
Irving said he initially approached Bryant to play a little one-on-one and Bryant asked what the stakes were.
“It just escalated from there,” Irving said. “It was all in good fun. It just shows the competitive fire that we both have.”
Flynn to work out
Free-agent point guard Jonny Flynn will work out for the Cavaliers on Monday, a source with knowledge of the meeting confirmed.
The Cavs and Flynn have mutual interest in getting a deal done, although Flynn has also worked out for the Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls.
Scott watched Kyrie Irving’s workouts with the U.S. Select team and thought he was a little tentative until the third day. Then the reigning Rookie of the Year took over.
By the end of Team USA’s stay in Las Vegas, Irving was the hot topic among Olympians and league executives alike.
“I thought the first day, he just didn’t look like Kyrie to me,” Scott said. “I think he weighed everything out and thought, ‘I’m on the floor with these guys. I can do this.’ Then the third day, he played like he was the best player on the floor. I thought that gave him great confidence of knowing he can play with these guys. It’s going to help him going into our season because he knows he can be one of the best point guards in this league.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.