Sorry in advance, Cleveland Cavaliers fans, for broaching this topic, but I'm sure it's a question many are asking today. With the news that Kyrie Irving will miss a month with a broken hand, it's worth wondering if the Cavaliers' star is especially susceptible to injuries. Or "injury-prone," as the kids like to say.
Why are we asking this question? This most recent injury is Irving's fifth since he stepped foot on Duke's campus just over two years ago. Five injuries in 24 months is a lot of injuries. Irving has insisted in the past that he's not injury-prone, which is the only thing he can do. But is he actually right?
Let's consider all the injuries:
INJURY 1: In a game against Butler on Dec. 9, Irving drove hard to the basket and landed awkwardly on his right foot. He left the game for a while, came back in briefly, then left the game for good in the second half. The next day, coach Mike Krzyzewski said that Irving had "a serious injury." It turned out that he tore several ligaments in his right big toe. Irving sat out for a while before returning in a limited state for the NCAA Tournament. He was then limited during the pre-draft workout circuit before the Cavaliers selected him No. 1 overall in the 2011 NBA Draft. The ongoing lockout allowed him to rehab slowly, and eventually, his foot got right.
INJURY 2: Irving's stellar start to his rookie year was derailed when he crashed into Dwyane Wade's knee during a February game against the Miami Heat. Irving was treated for a concussion and missed over a week of action. Total freak injury.
INJURY 3: A seemingly minor shoulder injury in a late-March game nagged Irving enough for him to miss several games down the stretch. In Irving's defense, it wasn't like there was much for the Cavaliers to play for at this point.
INJURY 4: Frustrated by a sequence in a
Team USA Select Team Cavaliers practice, Irving went to the wall at the end of the floor and slapped his hand hard on padding. Somehow, he ended up breaking his hand. He had surgery a few days later and returned for training camp.
INJURY 5: Irving suffered a hairline fracture in his left index finger during last Saturday's game against the Dallas Mavericks. X-rays were negative, so he played the next night against the Philadelphia 76ers and had by far the worst game of his season. Eventually, he got an MRI, which revealed the news. A hairline fracture is the kind of injury that can become far worse when reaggravated, so the Cavaliers want to sit Irving down for two weeks, then reevaluate from there. Most likely, he'll miss a month.
So, is Irving injury-prone? I guess it depends on how one defines the phrase. If it's being used simply to denote a player that gets hurt a lot, I guess it qualifies. Five injuries in 24 months is a lot.
But if the phrase indicates that Irving is likely to be injured several times in the future, I think that might be a bit much. I could understand using the phrase "injury-prone" to describe someone that hurts the same body part many times, but we're talking about five different injuries here. The broken hand over the summer and the concussion were especially flukey, and the toe and finger injuries stemmed from driving to the basket, something Irving will never stop doing. Only the shoulder injury seems like it could become chronic, and that can easily be fixed with more strength work.
At this point, Irving seems tremendously unlucky and not injury-prone. Then again, we said the same thing about Greg Oden at one point. Hopefully, for everyone's sake, Irving's bad luck stops with this ailment.