CHICAGO: Kyrie Irving tried twice to play through his sore knee before the Cavs’ medical staff finally decided to sit him down.
Irving missed Tuesday’s game against the Chicago Bulls with what has been deemed a hyperextended right knee. Irving banged knees with Omri Casspi during Friday’s practice, then played in both weekend games against the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat, but struggled in both games.
Irving shot a combined 10-of-25 in the two Florida games, but lacked much of his typical explosion and aggressiveness. He conceded after the loss to the Heat on Sunday that the knee was affecting him, which in part led to the team trainers resting him. He is questionable for tonight’s home game against the Toronto Raptors and is considered day-to-day moving forward, although coach Byron Scott doesn’t consider it to be serious.
“It’s one of those things that needs rest,” Scott said. “The last couple of games, it’s built up. He hasn’t been able to have any rest on it, so when you have a knee that’s as sore as his is, you need rest and treatment.”
The last time a Cavs player banged knees, it was the last game he played this season. Anderson Varejao was originally diagnosed with a deep contusion, then weeks later was diagnosed with a split quadriceps muscle that needed to be surgically repaired.
“Kyrie banged knees and then he came back and played the next two games, whereas Andy banged knees and we didn’t know what it was,” Scott said. “Totally different situation. … He felt once it gets a little warmed up, it’s OK. But when he goes out it gets stiff and sore again and it takes time to get back warm. Just didn’t need to put him in that position.”
The Cavs said all tests run on Irving’s knee came back negative.
Wait ’til next year
Irving has been in the league two full seasons and still hasn’t played against Derrick Rose. Various injuries and ailments prevented them from squaring off during Irving’s rookie season, then the knee injury Rose suffered in the 2012 playoffs has held him out all season.
“It’s unfortunate because of Derrick’s situation,” Scott said. “I love Derrick Rose just as a person. He’s an unbelievable basketball player, but I think he’s one of our best people in this league. When you talk about humble and a guy that’s all about the right stuff, Derrick Rose is one of those guys I think about.”
People around the Bulls previously believed the team was targeting this game as Rose’s return date, but there is still no timetable for his return.
“I’m hoping he comes back 110 percent,” Scott said, “and these two guys will be able to get it on next year sometime.”
The Bulls entered the night carrying an 11-game winning streak against the Cavs, and the outcomes are getting more lopsided. The Cavs lost four of the last five by at least 20 points and the last six prior to Tuesday by an average of 27 points.
“It’s got to be some point in time where you say that’s enough of this. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to win that game, but you have to stare the bully in the face and say, ‘I’m not backing down. You hit me, I’m hitting you,’ ” Scott said prior to the game. “That’s the side of our team I want to see. They’re going to be physical, we don’t back down. Don’t complain to the officials, be physical back. It’s old school. They hit you, hit them back.”
Tristan Thompson will be part of a national commercial for Fiat. He recently filmed scenes alongside rapper Pitbull, but doesn’t know when it is scheduled to air. … Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has been impressed with the way the Cavs have been playing for the last month. “They’re playing really well,” he said. “The last month, they’re scoring the ball easily in transition. They’re playing really hard and playing together.” … Casspi is back in Cleveland recuperating from an appendectomy performed in Orlando, Fla., over the weekend.
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at https://ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.