INDEPENDENCE: Kyrie Irving returned to Cavs practice on Sunday and believes he’ll be ready to play in the season opener Tuesday.
“I have confidence I’ll play, but it’s up to the doctors,” Irving said. “I feel good right now.”
Irving had all four wisdom teeth extracted Wednesday and was bed-ridden for a couple of days. He said he lost about 5 pounds, which is the amount of weight he put on in muscle over the summer.
Irving bragged about the added weight in practice and said he wanted to post up opposing guards now that he was stronger. All that has changed — at least for now.
“All that work I put in and coach Scott calling me Hercules, that’s all out the window,” Irving joked. “Those five pounds I dropped I’ll probably gain back in the next week or so, but wisdom teeth is no joke.”
Irving said the worst part was waking up in the hospital bed, having no recollection of the surgery and having his mouth stuffed with gauze. The Cavs believe Irving will be ready for the opener, but likely won’t officially clear him until Tuesday morning.
“I feel better knowing he was out here participating in practice,” coach Byron Scott said. “He looked pretty good. It doesn’t seem like he lost anything, other than [a few] pounds. The only thing he couldn’t do was talk.”
Irving and the rest of his teammates had a special present waiting from Scott. He handed all 15 players on the final roster hand-written instructions of what he expects from each of them this season. The first two requirements on everyone’s card were the same: defend and rebound.
“This way there will be no confusion, now we have it on paper,” Scott said. “I asked everybody today if they needed any clarification on it. If they do, they can come talk to me about it.”
Scott is expected to name his starters today. He wanted to tell the players first before telling reporters.
Final 15 all set
As expected, the Cavs will carry three point guards to start the year after Donald Sloan and Jeremy Pargo made the team. As a result, they waived forward Kevin Jones and center Micheal Eric.
Scott believes the Cavs have enough depth up front. He said earlier in camp that he wanted to carry three point guards in case Irving, who has battled injuries the last two years, goes down again.
“I thought we had enough bigs,” Scott said. “Those guys [Jones and Eric] are still a year or so away from being able to help. Hopefully they’ll go to our D-League team, which would be great. We can watch them grow. They need more experience and to be playing.”
Scott confirmed Sloan will be the backup to Irving, meaning Pargo’s minutes will be scarce. The Cavs acquired him in a trade over the summer with the Memphis Grizzlies, but Pargo had an inconsistent training camp and quickly fell behind Sloan.
“Donald has shown he’s improved from last year,” Scott said. “I’m intrigued by Jeremy. Being in the system a little longer, he’ll get better.”
Pargo knew he wasn’t having a very good camp and was concerned he may get cut, but thought he had his best performance a few days ago during a team scrimmage.
“It’s always in the back of your head, especially when you don’t feel you’re playing up to your best. But you do whatever you can to not let that creep into your frontal lobe,” Pargo said. “The hole was dug by me. I can’t be mad at anyone, it’s just the way it goes. You just have to keep working and hopefully get an opportunity.”
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.