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Kyrie Irving Reportedly Expected to Return from Facial Injury for Nets vs. Bulls

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IIIMay 14, 2021

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, May 8, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving is expected to play against the Chicago Bulls on Saturday after a one-game absence because of a facial contusion, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

Irving exited Tuesday's 115-107 win over the Chicago Bulls early in the third quarter after taking an elbow to the face:

He was held out of Wednesday's 128-116 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

The star has been limited by various injuries since he moved to join the Nets in 2019. A year after playing in just 20 games with the team, his 2020-21 campaign was also marred by issues that include finger, back, groin and face injuries. He also spent time going through the league's health and safety protocols.

All told, he has still managed to be a productive piece of the Nets rotation, especially in the face of injuries to Kevin Durant and James Harden. Irving has averaged 27.2 points, 6.2 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals through 52 games.

With Irving returning to the lineup, the Nets will likely have their Big Three together on the court as the regular season nears an end, as Harden previously returned from a prolonged absence from a hamstring injury on Wednesday. According to ESPN's Malika Andrews, it would mark just the eighth game Irving, Harden and Kevin Durant will have played together this season.

Brooklyn (46-24) currently trails the Philadelphia 76ers (47-23) by one game for the top seed in the Eastern Conference with two games to play.

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