CLEVELAND — Kyrie Irving is stressing the positive in regards to his latest injury.
A strained tendon in his left biceps forced Irving to miss his 42nd game in three seasons with the Cavaliers on Tuesday night when LeBron James and the Miami Heat visited Quicken Loans Arena.
Irving, who suffered the injury Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers, will rest for two weeks, after which the best course of treatment will be determined.
“It’s definitely disappointing,” Irving said. “If you can take a positive from the situation, I’m just glad I don’t have to go the surgical route at this point.”
Irving didn’t totally rule out surgery in the future, but right now he’s trying to remain upbeat for his teammates, who entered Tuesday five games back of the Atlanta Hawks for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
“I’ve been knocked down a couple times this season,” he said. “At this point, it’s about staying positive for my teammates and being there for them as much as possible.”
To that end, Irving plans on going on all road trips with the Cavs, who host Oklahoma City on Thursday and Houston on Saturday before playing in New York on Sunday.
“We still have a chance to do something special,” said Irving, who will turn 22 Sunday. “I believe in these guys.”
The Cavs have not ruled the two-time All-Star out for the rest of the season, but right now Irving can’t lift anything with his left arm.
“I knew something was wrong when I came to the bench (during the Clippers game),” he said. “I just felt a weird feeling after that play in my shoulder. My arm looked a little different in the bicep area. That’s when I knew I strained it.”
Second-year guard Dion Waiters, who started the first nine games of the season and then came off the bench for the next 46 in which he appeared, moved back into the starting lineup against the Heat.
“It’s cool,” Waiters said. “I’m going at it with the same mindset I had off the bench: Go in there and kill somebody.”
Cavs coach Mike Brown made the decision to start Waiters for two reasons: Waiters has played fairly well and undrafted rookie Matthew Dellavedova is now the only other healthy point guard on the roster after veteran starter Jarrett Jack.
“Dion deserves the right to start, especially at this point,” Brown said. “Jack being a point guard anyway, Delly’s our only other point guard, so he’ll be great coming off the bench.”
While vowing to approach the game with the same aggressiveness he did coming off the bench, Waiters also hopes to pick up some of the slack created by Irving’s absence.
“I’ve got to do a little more getting my teammates involved, as Ky did, just doing the little things,” he said. “The most important thing is doing the things he did and try to do more.”
Waiters entered Tuesday averaging 14.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists. He was shooting .424 from the floor, .374 on 3-pointers and .675 on 3-pointers.
- In addition to Irving (21.2 ppg), starting small forward Luol Deng (14.8 with Cavs) missed the game due to a sprained ankle, meaning Cleveland was without its top two scorers. Alonzo Gee started in place of Deng.
- Cavs swingman C.J. Miles returned to action after missing 12 games with a sprained ankle, while Dellavedova also played after spraining his ankle against the Clippers.
- The Heat rested 32-year-old shooting guard Dwayne Wade (19.4). Toney Douglas started in his place.
- Oft-injured Greg Oden started his second straight game and third of the season for Miami. The former Ohio State star has appeared in 19 games for the Heat and entered Tuesday averaging 2.7 points and 2.2 rebounds in 8.4 minutes.
Quote of the day
“There’s no rah-rah speech needed. They know what’s at stake.” — Brown on any message he might deliver to his players before the Heat game.