Cavs could shut down Kyrie Irving

Updated: April 4, 2012, 8:28 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

CLEVELAND -- The losses keep piling up for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Non-competitive during an eight-game losing streak, the Cavs learned Wednesday they will be without rookie Kyrie Irving for at least one week and perhaps the rest of the season after the point guard re-injured his sprained right shoulder during a 35-point home loss to San Antonio on Tuesday night.

Irving
Irving

Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said before Wednesday night's game in Milwaukee he has considered shutting down Irving for the final few weeks of the season.

"We'll see how he reacts in the next four or five days, with treatment and rest and we'll go from there," Scott said. "But, yeah, I've given thought to it. I'll be honest with you, I've definitely given thought to it."

Scott acknowledged Irving likely would prefer to come back if he can.

"He's a competitor," Scott said. "He wants to play."

Irving had returned after missing one game with the injury and played 30 minutes against the Spurs. The team said in a release the 20-year-old guard worsened his injury after contact and did not accompany the team to Milwaukee for Wednesday night's game.

The Cavs, who have lost 11 of 12 and 17 of 21, projected Irving will miss at least one week. The team said Irving underwent an MRI, which revealed a bruise and sprain. Irving did not mention his injury after the game and the team did not reveal he stayed behind until a few hours before the scheduled tip-off against the Bucks.

Irving, who wore a protective brace on Tuesday, hit the floor after contact on at least two plays against the Spurs. Scott said it likely happened during a collision with DeJuan Blair.

"You can tell he wasn't himself after that screen," Scott said. "But he wouldn't say anything about it."

Scott had promised to be overly cautious with his young star so as to not risk him getting hurt and missing more time. Now that Irving is hurt again, the Cavs are unlikely to take any more chances with the No. 1 overall pick and presumptive NBA rookie of the year. The Cavs play seven games in the next 10 days and will be without their leading scorer.

Irving scored 13 points in the Cavs' 125-90 loss to the Spurs, who were able to rest many of their starters after building a huge lead in the second half. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Cavs are the first team in NBA history to lose consecutive home games by at least 35. Cleveland lost 121-84 to the Bucks on Friday night when Irving first hurt his shoulder.

Also, the Cavs have lost by an average of 19.63 points during their eight-game slide, the third-largest margin of defeat during a losing streak of at least eight games since 2001.

After the loss to San Antonio, Irving said the losing is taking a toll.

"It starts to wear on you mentally; it starts to wear on you physically," he said. "It's hard when you're making so many mistakes. The film sessions and practice get to you a little bit, but we all get paid to do this at a really high level and we just have to pick it up from a mental standpoint first, and physical."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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