The Cleveland Cavaliers will host the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night. We know who will be out of commission for the visiting side: Pau Gasol and Steve Nash. The latter is still recovering from nerve irritation in his left leg; the former is dealing with knee tendinitis. What we didn’t know until very recently, however, was the status of Cleveland’s most important player: Kyrie Irving.
Irving has missed 11 games while nursing a broken finger, but apparently he will in fact suit up for tonight’s big showdown.
"It's been very difficult," Irving said on Monday (via ESPN). "But I've gotten a chance to really break down the game and it's given me a chance to get a different outlook being on the sideline. I'm really happy to be out there and be competing again."
Irving broke his finger in the middle of November, and the Cavaliers have proven to be an absolute mess without him (2-9 in their last 11 games). Well, scratch that. They were an absolute mess with him, too (2-8 in their previous 10 games). But having him on the court definitely helps.
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And the Lakers better not count on Irving being out of shape in this one. Because he couldn’t do his normal training, the talented point guard put a serious emphasis on cardio over the past few weeks.
"They were killing me behind the scenes," he said. "I definitely stayed in shape over the last two weeks. I needed it and it felt good."
While Irving returning tonight is obviously huge for Cleveland, the team will still be without Dion Waiters who is nursing a sprained ankle.