Kyrie Irving suffered a broken bone on the outside of his right hand in a summer-league practice on Saturday afternoon at Spring Valley High School.
He will return to Cleveland on Sunday to be examined by team physicians. He said he needed surgery and is expected to be out six to eight weeks but should be healed in time for the starts of Cavs training camp in late September or early October.
As difficult as this has to be for Cavs' fans, fear not, because Irving has much promise in developing as an NBA superstar. With that, let's break down Irving and why this injury won't slow him down this season.
The most impressive aspect about Kyrie Irving's production as a rookie was the manner in which he entered the NBA.
As a freshman at Duke, Irving played in just 11 games during the 2010-11 season because of a foot injury. Still, Irving went as the No. 1 overall pick to Cleveland in the 2012 NBA draft and won the Rookie of the Year award.
With 18.5 points, 5.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game through 51 starts, Irving logged 30.5 minutes per contest as well. Now for a rookie that is some impressive production, but having this kind of impact despite missing most of his one college season deserves ultimate recognition.
He proved to be dominant as a rookie and we can only expect that during the 2012-13 season.
Although Irving was the No. 1 overall pick, there really isn't much pressure for him to perform.
For one, entering the pros after barely playing in college certainly lowered the bar of expectations, and even after a great rookie season it's tough to add pressure. He may be the player Cleveland is anticipating to bring back the franchise, but if Irving fails it's difficult to believe he wouldn't get another opportunity elsewhere.
The Cavaliers have so much young talent and potential that it's going to take some time before Cleveland becomes contenders in the east. And with the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers having been more elite in the Central Division, success will be tough to find regardless.
As long as the Cavs gradually improve through each season and the organization is patient, then Cleveland can potentially emerge as an elite team in the east. Irving's injury won't set the Cavs back at all either, because finishing near the bottom of the association means there's nowhere else to go but up.
Speaking of having nowhere else to go but up, Cleveland really has nothing to lose regardless of who's on the floor.
Now Irving obviously gives the Cavaliers the best chance to win and win consistently, but without him the team still has a lot of potential. Other young and promising players such as Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller, Dion Waiters, and Daniel Gibson can be relied on.
And since the Cavs are so young, Irving has more time to get healthy and even more time to totally develop. The future is bright in Cleveland but it's the long-term future that must be sought. Any kind of winning now is a bonus, because once Irving and Co. have become fully acclimated to playing in the NBA then watch out.
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