Kyrie Irving Will Play vs. Nets with Mask Protecting Face Injury

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2017

Team personnel assist Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving (11) after he was injured during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets in Boston, Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. Irving took an elbow to the face and left the game. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Kyrie Irving said he will play in Tuesday night's road game against the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center with a mask covering his facial fracture, per Jay King of MassLive.com.

Head coach Brad Stevens previously said Irving, who completed the morning shootaround session, will be in the lineup to face the Nets "unless I hear otherwise," per Adam Himmelsbach‏ of the Boston Globe.

The 25-year-old guard suffered the injury during a 90-87 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night. He then sat out Sunday's 95-94 win over the Toronto Raptors to recover.

Irving told reporters Tuesday his daughter accidentally hit him in the face over the weekend, and he jokingly said it was a struggle not to cry in front of her.

The four-time All-Star is off to a strong start with the Celtics after his offseason trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers. He's averaging 20.3 points, 5.2 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.9 steals across 13 appearances.

His expected return will send big man Aron Baynes to the bench as Boston returns to a smaller lineup. It will also reduce playing time for reserve guards Terry Rozier, who scored 16 points in 28 minutes against the Raptors in the team's 12th straight win, and Shane Larkin.

Irving should make a smooth transition back into action as the Nets will be without point guard D'Angelo Russell as he deals with a left knee contusion.