Kyrie Irving Ruled out vs. 76ers Due to Shoulder Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 11: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics handles the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers during the 2018 NBA London Game at the 02 Arena on January 11, 2018 in London, England. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brian Babineau/Getty Images

Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving has been ruled out for Thursday night's game against the Philadelphia 76ers because of shoulder soreness. 

According to ESPN.com's Chris Forsberg, head coach Brad Stevens said while there's no timetable for Irving's return, he is hopeful his floor general will be available "sooner than later."

The Celtics have done well to weather through Gordon Hayward's fractured ankle on the opening night of the season, and Irving is a big reason for Boston's success.

In his first year with the team, Irving is averaging 24.1 points per game on 47.3 percent shooting. Most impressively, Irving has seamlessly integrated into Stevens' offense. He's dishing out 5.0 assists against 2.4 turnovers per game.

Stevens has proved himself to be one of the NBA's best coaches, but losing Irving for a stretch would be a significant blow for the Celtics.

Boston sacrificed a lot of roster depth to acquire Irving and Hayward. Starting Marcus Smart at point guard isn't a bad contingency plan with Irving unavailable, but his absence would mean elevating Shane Larkin on the depth chart, which is less than ideal for a team aiming to finish atop the Eastern Conference.

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