NEW YORK — Kyrie Irving will not play in the Brooklyn Nets’ first matchup against his former team, the Boston Celtics, the team announced Friday night. Irving will miss the Nets’ next three games, which include road matchups against the Knicks, the Cleveland Cavaliers and, finally, the Celtics on Wednesday.
Irving has already missed Brooklyn’s past four games with a right shoulder impingement, which he suffered against the Utah Jazz on Nov. 12. Coach Kenny Atkinson said Irving “gutted out” the Nets’ game against the Nuggets two days later but was in pain.
Atkinson said this week that Irving has yet to participate in a practice since tweaking his shoulder. Irving, who is still unable to shoot comfortably, is undergoing daily treatment.
“I don’t think it’s something he can play through right now,” Atkinson said after practice Thursday. “The shoulder is a sensitive spot, especially for a point guard — you’re like a quarterback.”
Atkinson said he would like to see Irving, 27, go through practice pain free before he returns to the court. At the moment, Atkinson said that both pain tolerance and range of motion are issues for the point guard.
“He’s got to get to the point where he feels like — and we feel like — he can play. We’re just not at that point right now,” Atkinson said Thursday.
Irving has a history of not playing against his former teams. Since leaving the Cavaliers after the 2016-17 season, he has played in Cleveland only once.
“It is always a show when Kyrie plays,” Nets center DeAndre Jordan told ESPN. “I am pretty sure that some fans will miss him [in Boston]. Some fans have other thoughts.”
The Nets face the Celtics again Nov. 29 at Barclays Center.
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