A team desperate for good news received some Monday when Kyrie Irving returned to practice and was cleared to play Tuesday against the Los Angels Lakers.

The Cavaliers went 2-9 without their star after he fractured his left index finger against Dallas on Nov. 17. He played in one more game before the fracture was discovered. Now he's returning a week earlier than expected.

The Cavs are still without Dion Waiters, who has not been cleared following a sprained left ankle. The Cavs were 0-4 with both Irving and Waiters out of the lineup.

Irving leads the team in scoring (22.9 points) and assists (5.6). He returns just in time to face Kobe Bryant, with whom he made a friendly bet during Team USA practices over the summer regarding a one-on-one game between the two stars. Neither player is certain when, or even if, the game will actually take place.