The Nets emerged as one of the biggest winners in free agency when they signed both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to four-year contracts. Brooklyn's front office never expected Durant to play this season, but with Irving running the show at the Barclays Center, the Nets entered the year with playoff expectations.
Irving's Brooklyn tenure started off strong with averages of 28.5 points, 7.2 assists and 5.4 rebounds through 11 games. Then a shoulder injury forced the six-time All-Star to trade in his jersey for street clothes. Irving offered a glimmer of hope in January, but it appears he's heading back to the bench permanently with that same shoulder issue.
What's next for the Nets star? Here's everything we know about Irving's injury and the latest news on when he may return to the court.
How long will Kyrie Irving be out?
Irving told reporters on Jan. 4 that he received a cortisone injection to relieve an impingement and bursitis in his right (shooting) shoulder. Irving ultimately decided to get the injection to avoid — or at least put off — surgery. He returned to practice on Jan. 9 and fully participated in five-on-five contact drills.
After rejoining the Nets' starting lineup on Jan. 12, Irving played only nine games before sitting from Feb. 3 through the NBA All-Star break due to a sprained knee. On Feb. 20, Nets general manager Sean Marks announced Irving will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder and miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season.
Marks said he was disappointed that he and the Nets have gotten so little of a look at their full team this season. Irving has only played 20 games. “It’s been a roller coaster ride of a season,” he said. https://t.co/JYPK1AJsIr— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) February 20, 2020
Kyrie Irving injury timeline
Despite hurting his shoulder on Nov. 12 against the Jazz, Irving played two days later against the Nuggets. The injury may explain why Irving shot 18-of-50 (36 percent) from the field in those games. Nets coach Kenny Atkinson then told reporters Irving would miss the Nov. 16 contest in Chicago.
Nets coach Kenny Atkinson on Kyrie Irving’s shoulder injury: “Definitely played through some pain starting after the hit in Utah and I think he gutted it out against Denver quite honestly. We all thought it was the best interest to give him a game here.”— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) November 16, 2019
While the rest of the Nets push for an Eastern Conference playoff berth, both Irving and Durant will now focus on rehabilitation plans ahead of the 2020-21 season.