Duke's Kyrie Irving Gets Cast Off Today, but Don't Expect a Miracle

Mike KlineAnalyst IFebruary 4, 2011

DURHAM, NC - DECEMBER 01:  Kyrie Irving #1 of the Duke Blue Devils watches on during their game against the Michigan State Spartans at Cameron Indoor Stadium on December 1, 2010 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Friday is officially T-Day for Duke basketball.

Kyrie Irving's injured toe, which has been in a cast for the better part of two months, finally gets that cast off. Those expecting him to rip the cast off and start playing right away better keep dreaming.

Those with an understanding that this injury, as confusing and serious as it is, know Irving isn't likely to yield any definitive secrets today and that no announcement will be made stating a return date.

The fact is Irving is likely to not return anymore this season for Duke and possibly will never suit up in a Duke uniform again, though it would be OK if never put on those black ones.

The injury, which has never officially been given a name, is easily the most talked about appendage in sports today.

Irving suffered the injury on a seemingly innocuous play against Butler in December. Duke fans went through all phases of grief from denial, anger and some even have experienced acceptance.

There is little doubt in most people's mind that Irving was having a special season averaging more than 17 points and five assists per game. He had Duke looking poised to steamroll through the regular season and into the NCAA tournament in pursuit of another national title.

Things just didn't work out that way and the most confusing injury that robbed not only Duke fans but all fans of college basketball the privilege of seeing a player like Irving play has been especially hard to take.

Doctors say the toe is healing. But until he puts weight on it, tries to stretch it out and eventually exercise on it, they will not know for certain how the injury, one that apparently can be quite nagging if not healed properly, will impact Irving.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has said numerous times they are expecting to play the rest of the season without him and preparing to do so. They are also not going to push him to play unless he is 100 percent.

That isn't likely, though not impossible.

So while today marks an exciting day for Irving and his anxious fans, it is just another step in the process of healing and getting better. Unfortunately, the damage has been done.

A special season that comes along only a few times ever, has been lost. All that is left are a few memories of what was and what could have been.

And while many hold out hope for a miracle that he may play again this season, the realities tell a different story which gets a whole new chapter today.