Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving has insisted that he will play through the pain barrier in Game 1 of the NBA Finals 2015 on Thursday night.
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Irving has been troubled with knee tendinitis for the last month or so, and although he has reportedly been making progress after a week off, he is still experiencing pain and won’t be at 100 percent.
“It’s an adjustment, but it’s what it is at this point,” Irving said at Finals media day.
“But I’m just going to go out there and will myself to play.”
Coach David Blatt reiterated that the progress in his recovery has been slow even though he hasn’t suffered any setbacks, while LeBron James insisted that while it would be ideal to have him at 100 percent, he will be glad to have him on the court at all.
Irving was still able to have an impact in the closeout game against the Atlanta Hawks last week, as he put up 16 points and five assists in 22 minutes of action.
As a result, the Cavs will likely be able to expect something off him against the Warriors in terms of offense, but he may be forced to do more off the ball rather than be the primary ball-handler at times.
In addition, it remains to be seen how much of a liability he is on defense if he is unable to get around and close down whoever he is tasked with guarding, with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in particular likely to make life difficult for him.
However, Blatt was keen not to make any excuses and insisted that his team will continue to go out and play to win and will hope that they can get some consistent play from Irving in stages.