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Nets G Kyrie Irving (calf) indicates he will play vs. Suns

Jan 15, 2023; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) gestures at referee Justin Van Duyne (64) during the third quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving said he will play in Thursday night’s game against the Phoenix Suns despite right calf soreness that prompted him to sit out two nights earlier.

Irving said after Thursday’s shootaround that he is “trying to take care of my body for the long term.” He said he doesn’t think the calf injury is serious.

Still, he was held out of Tuesday’s 106-98 road loss against the San Antonio Spurs due to tightness and soreness in the calf.

His return comes after the Nets have lost three straight games since losing star forward Kevin Durant to a knee injury.

“It’s tough for anybody, especially when your team is set up a certain type of way and pieces aren’t in,” Irving said of playing without Durant. “So it’s a figuring-out process, but it’s not to lose your head, or lose your emotions. Just stay poised throughout this. It’s inevitable that injuries happen at times. Obviously it’s not ideal, but control what we can control.”

Phoenix is dealing with its own set of issues while losing 12 of its last 14 games.

The Suns are just 3-13 this season without star guard Devin Booker (groin), who will miss his 12th straight game. Point guard Chris Paul (hip) and backup Cameron Payne (foot) remain sidelined, while shooting guards Landry Shamet (foot) and Josh Okogie (fractured nose) will also sit out.

One piece of good news for Phoenix is that forward Cameron Johnson is set to return Thursday. He injured his knee on Nov. 4 and underwent surgery four days later.

–Field Level Media