Cavs' Kyrie Irving to return Tuesday
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Cavaliers rookie guard Kyrie Irving will return to the lineup after missing one game with a sprained right shoulder.
Irving is expected to play Tuesday night when the Cavs, who have lost seven straight games and dropped from the playoff race, host the San Antonio Spurs.
Cleveland coach Byron Scott said Irving participated in the team's morning shootaround without any problems and the 20-year-old told him he "feels great." Irving sprained his shoulder last week while scrambling for a loose ball with Milwaukee's Ersan Ilyasova. Irving wanted to play the next day in New York, but Scott overruled him and rested his first-year star.
"He will be able to play tonight unless he goes to sleep this afternoon and something happens," Scott said after the shootaround. "Just watching him shoot it doesn't look like he has any ill effects from the other day. So I think we are good to go."
Irving will continue to wear a protective brace on his shoulder, Scott said.
The overwhelming favorite to be the NBA's rookie of the year, Irving is averaging 18.9 points, 5.7 assists and 4.0 rebounds. He was named the Eastern Conference's top rookie for March on Monday, the third straight month the No. 1 overall pick has earned the award.
The Cavs need Irving to have any shot at slowing the Spurs, who have won seven in a row and are again among the league's elite teams.
Scott marvels at San Antonio's consistency.
"Every year, people don't even talk about them being a force in the Western Conference," he said. "Then when you look up toward the end of the regular season, they're right there, just like they are this year."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
MORE NBA HEADLINES
- Pacers' George: Ready to live up to pressure
- Bosh admits he was 'close' to leaving Heat
- Ginobili has stress fracture, to skip World Cup
- Rose acknowledges tension with Bulls, circle