Kyrie Irving Wears Protective Mask, Posts Career High in MSG

Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistDecember 15, 2012

Dec 15, 2012; New York, NY, USA;  New York Knicks point guard Raymond Felton (2) defends Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (2) on a drive to the net during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden.  Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving isn't the only guy who's been forced to wear a protective mask while on the floor. He isn't even the only Cleveland Cavalier, joining the already-masked Tyler Zeller and Tristan Thompson to form the most facially accessorized trio in the NBA (via Fred Kerber of the New York Post):

#Cavs Kyrie Irving will wear a protective mask vs #Knicks after breaking a facial bone Friday. "I look like the Dark Knight with it on."

— Fred Kerber (@FredKerber) December 16, 2012

No, he's not the only one, but he might be the only one who makes it look good.

Irving was also busy making the Cavaliers look good, scoring a career-high 41 points en route to a narrow loss against the New York Knicks (via Moke Hamilton): 

That Kyrie Irving kid is pretty good. 41, 5 and 5 in MSG.

— Moke Hamilton (@MokeHamilton) December 16, 2012

Yep, the same Kyrie Irving kid who just posted 28 points and 11 assists in a win against the Lakers a few days ago. If you weren't already sold on the 2011-12 rookie of the year, the time has most assuredly come.

It was a fitting performance for a guy who looked like he was ready to save the day (via Michael Mayer):

It makes sense that Kyrie would be able to adjust to wearing a mask during the game, since he also wears one when he fights crime at night.

— Michael Mayer (@RS64mikemayer) December 16, 2012

Like last season's Kobe Bryant and others before him, Irving is taking his new gear in stride so far (via NBA Guru):

Would love to see stats on how facial masks affect players. So far, Kyrie's "Dark Knight" mask doesn't seem to be bothering him at all.

— NBA Guru (@NBAGuru) December 16, 2012

Irving sustained the fracture when he was fouled by Milwaukee Bucks forward Luc Mbah a Moute, landing his face on the hardwood and quickly realizing just how hard that floor was. Cleveland's star point guard was clearly in pain at first, but he remained in the game anyway.

Needless to say, Irving is proving he's an All-Star in more ways than one.