Kyrie Irving is dealing with a sore knee, so the Boston Celtics point guard is prioritizing his long-term outlook over a couple games this week.
After exiting Boston’s 99-97 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Sunday, Irving said the left knee discomfort began March 3 against the Houston Rockets and it’s time to focus on getting healthy, per ESPN’s Chris Forsberg.
“I think [rest] will probably be the best thing, just instead of kind of hoping it gets better over the two or three days that it usually does. It’s aching a little bit more than I wanted it to now, so I’m taking the necessary time.”
Irving only played 16 minutes Sunday, and he missed a road contest against the Chicago Bulls six days earlier. Now, the Celtics will likely be without him opposite the Washington Wizards and Orlando Magic, perhaps longer.
This is the prudent choice for both Irving and the team, since Boston holds a seven-game advantage on the third-place Indiana Pacers. The magic number for the Celtics to clinch no worse than the No. 2 seed is just nine — with 15 games remaining.
Boston needs Irving completely healthy for the postseason. There’s little reason to have Irving playing through pain when the risk outweighs the reward.