The Cavaliers have not said anything officially, but forward Luke Walton might have accidentally let slip the best plan Cleveland has for breaking a seven-game losing streak: Kyrie Irving. Speaking after practice Saturday, Walton talked of why the 22-49 Cavaliers still have hope in the remaining three weeks of the season. "I still believe that we're all in this together and we're going to play better basketball these last 11 games. Hopefully with Kyrie coming back, that can give us that spark needed to get us going in the right direction again," he said. Uh, what? Minutes earlier, coach Byron Scott had said there were no updates on Irving's status, that the second-year guard "was just out there getting some shots up." When Walton was asked if Irving was coming back in time for today's game in New Orleans, he chuckled. "He practiced today, so I hope that means he's coming back," Walton said. "What's more important for Kyrie is to make sure his shoulder's healthy at this point. We can keep working to get better, but you've got to think about what's best for his future and the team's future, and that's him being healthy. We joke and kid about wanting him back, but we've also told him to make sure he's healthy because we don't want him to re-injure that shoulder, as young as he is." The Cavaliers' point guard has missed the past eight games with a sprained left shoulder. On Monday, Irving will have missed three weeks of playing time. The original timetable for his return was 3-4 weeks. Irving has been working out hard before games recently, even working up a sweat on the court at The Q. The Cavs are 1-7 without the All-Star point guard during his current injury absence. He missed 11 games earlier this season with a fractured left index finger and three more with a hyperextended knee. On the seven-game losing streak -- the longest of the season -- the Cavaliers have allowed opponents to shoot 49.6 percent and score an average of 104.3 points while they have managed just 42.9 percent shooting and scored 91.6 points. Despite a series of bad losses that have included the Miami Heat charging back from a 27-point deficit, Boston erasing the Cavaliers' 14-point lead in the final 8:08 and a particularly lackluster appearance in a loss to Philadelphia on Friday, Scott believes his players still are invested in the remainder of the season -- with or without Irving.
Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving practices; is his return from injury imminent?
Cleveland Plain Dealer | Mar 31