Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving was held out of practice at certain points on Monday and revealed he probably won’t be 100 percent for Thursday.
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Irving has been battling knee tendinitis and a foot strain for most of the post-season, and it has kept him out of action for a significant part of the playoff run.
Having missed time against both the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks in the last two rounds, the 23-year-old will be desperate to return to action consistently after playing just 22 minutes in the series-clinching game in the Eastern Conference Finals.
While he was kept out of certain portions of practice, the talented point guard revealed that he was in a good place as he looks to benefit from having over a week off between the last Hawks game and Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night.
However, he conceded that he won’t be 100 percent for the encounter “unless something miraculous happens” and so Cleveland will potentially need to rely on Matthew Dellavedova to continue to step into the starting line-up.
Irving’s health could be a huge factor in the series given that the Cavs need to not only be efficient on the offensive end, but will need their best back-court player to defend the likes of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
LeBron James will be expected to switch his defensive role and guard various players through the series, but Irving has the ability to be the difference-maker when healthy.
Cleveland have proven throughout the playoffs that they have the determination and talent to compete despite losing key players. However, this is arguably one match-up that they will need all the help that they can get.