Brad Stevens: It’s “Killing” Kyrie Irving That He Can’t Play In Playoffs

Kyrie Irving with Celtics. Photo by Rob Sambles/Frozen in Motion/REX/Shutterstock

Boston Celtics are currently battling Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals, and have been a better opponent than anyone could expect. Celtics entered the playoffs without their two-star players, Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, but still managed to get this far and NBA Finals now don’t look impossible.

Missing out the series against the Cavs has been especially tough for Kyrie Irving. He was traded to the Celtics by the Cavaliers in 2017 and was de-facto the leader of the team until he went down with a left knee injury in early April. According to Celtics coach Brad Stevens, it’s “killing” Irving that he can’t make a contribution to the team’s efforts, but the good news is that his recovery is going great.

In our sit-downs, or just our casual conversations, he seems to be in a great place,” – said Stevens. “It’s killing him not to be out on the floor. But I think that would be the case, obviously, any time you’re playing this deep into the playoffs, especially in a new place. Other than that, his recovery is going great. We’re excited about that. But he seems to be in a good place.

Despite not being out there on the basketball court, Kyrie Irving has been present at Celtics’ home postseason games providing leadership and guidance to this young roster.
After asking for a trade from Cleveland in summer of 2017, Kyrie Irving landed in Boston who sent Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and Brooklyn Nets 2018 first-round draft pick in the opposite direction.

Irving ended up playing 60 regular season games in his first season with the Celtics, averaging 24.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game.