Kyrie Irving injured his ankle midway through the second quarter of Sunday’s Game 4 showdown between the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets.
The 29-year-old seemed to land awkwardly on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s foot – spraining his ankle in the process.
— Mike Cianciolo (@MikeCianciolo) June 13, 2021
In the aftermath, all reports regarding the injury made it sound particularly awful.
“Kyrie was in significant pain while talking to the training staff – twice he asked them to stop touching his ankle until he could take the pressure, and when they first tried to help him up, he asked them to stop due to pain,” ESPN NBA insider Rachel Nichols reported. “He’s back in the locker room now.”
Irving would ultimately be ruled out for the rest of the game.
Afterward, the prognosis didn’t seem any better.
“I’m told Kyrie was in a walking boot and using crutches after spraining his ankle during today’s Nets-Bucks Game 4,” Nichols followed up.
“Steve Nash says that x-rays on the ankle were negative and that Kyrie will undergo further testing/evaluation tomorrow.”
Obviously the x-rays coming back negative are a good thing, but Irving’s questionable status beyond that might spell trouble for the Nets.
The Bucks owner’s daughter decided to bring 2021 in with a bang by stripping all her clothes off. https://t.co/UgzhEEna4o
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 7, 2021
James Harden has already missed the entirety of the Bucks series, and with Irving out as well, the onus will entirely fall on Kevin Durant to carry the ballclub. Whether or not he’ll ultimately be able to do so remains to be seen. Over the course of the regular season, Brooklyn went 12-6 in games where Irving didn’t play. But that was the regular season.
The stakes in this second-rounds series are high. At least one of the head coaches involved is coaching for his job. Irving, meanwhile, is trying to make everyone forget about the messy situation he got himself into not too long ago. That’s tough to do when you’re not playing.
This is going to be a crucial few days. Either Irving will be able to return to the fold and lead the Nets past the Bucks, or Brooklyn will quickly turn into one of the most disappointing super teams in recent memory.