The Cleveland Cavaliers lost more than just Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals on Thursday night, as Kyrie Irving left the contest with a knee injury. After the point guard limped off the court, there is concern that he could miss time in the series.
"You can hear in the tone of my voice that I'm a little worried," Irving said after the game. "I just want to make sure everything is OK, and I'm going to take the necessary steps to see what's going on."
Irving has been suffering from knee tendinits, and he admitted that he wouldn’t be completely healthy for the series. But he seemed unaffected by the injury, until he began limping in overtime and was forced to leave the game. Irving told reporters that the pain was different than what he had previously been dealing with, saying he felt a “quick pinch.”
The point guard fell down with 2:20 left in the extra session, as Cleveland trailed the Golden State Warriors, 102-98. The Cavs went on to lose by eight points, scoring their only points in overtime in the final seconds of the period.
The extent of the injury wasn’t immediately known, and Irving is set to undergo an MRI on Friday. After being examined by a doctor, the initial diagnosis was that the noncontact injury didn’t result in a torn ACL or MCL. But Irving did have to leave the locker room on crutches, and he had trouble walking on his own.
LeBron James on Kyrie Irving: "To see him walk out of the locker room on crutches just now is a tough blow for our team."
â€” Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) June 5, 2015
Prior to the injury, Irving looked like the player that was named to the 2014-2015 All-NBA Third Team. He totaled 23 points, seven rebounds and six assists in 44 minutes. His defense was some of the best he’s played this season, and he made a pivotal block on Stephen Curry in the fourth quarter that helped force overtime.
The Cavs have gone undefeated without Irving in the playoffs, beating the Atlanta Hawks in both Game 2 and Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. He’s averaging 19 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game this postseason.