As he prepares to wear a protective mask for the third time in his NBA career, Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving is very much aware of the "Masked Kyrie" phenomenon that's flourished on social media.

Irving suffered a facial fracture in Boston's win over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night and missed Sunday's victory over the Toronto Raptors. Irving will be wearing a mask Tuesday night when he returns to game action against the Brooklyn Nets.

"I hate wearing it, but somehow it's caused a craze on Instagram as well as social media," a smiling Irving said Tuesday at Boston's shootaround at Asphalt Green in Battery Park. "It's 'masked man.' But I understand that it's just for my safety, so throw on the mask for a few weeks and go about my business."

Irving suffered the fracture below his right eye when he was inadvertently elbowed by teammate Aron Baynes in the first quarter Friday. Even without Irving, the Celtics rallied from 18 down to top the Hornets and then gritted out a win against the Raptors on Sunday to extend their winning streak to a league-best 12 games.