Kyrie Irving to seek second opinion for ongoing knee soreness

Kyrie Irving Boston Celtics
Kyrie Irving plays against the Minnesota Timberwolves. –AP Photo/Jim Mone

Kyrie Irving will seek a second opinion for ongoing soreness in his left knee, head coach Brad Stevens announced Tuesday night.

“It’s not new pain by any means,” Stevens told reporters before the Celtics-Thunder game at the TD Garden. “It’s not anything new.”

Irving will consult another medical opinion “later this week,” according to Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports. Tony Massarotti of 98.5 The Sports Hub reported the All-Star guard needs to remove the screws in his knee or he will not play at all.

Irving has been battling nagging soreness ever since he underwent surgery to repair a broken kneecap in 2015. He reportedly still requires a minor follow-up procedure — something he’s been putting off since the initial operation — but Stevens told reporters Tuesday the two have not yet discussed potential plans for the procedure.

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“He’s worked really hard to manage the soreness throughout the entire season,” Stevens said. “He’s had some pretty good days recently, so I’m encouraged by it in the big picture.”

Despite Irving’s repeated complaints about his knee’s condition last season with the Cavaliers, the soreness appeared to be alleviated through 60-plus games with the Celtics. The lingering issue seemingly flared up, however, against the Rockets on March 3. Irving subsequently sat out the team’s next game against the Bulls, before returning to action against the Timberwolves.

He played the first half against the Pacers a few days later, but ultimately did not return to the court after halftime. Including Tuesday night’s game against Oklahoma City, Irving has missed four games and is not expected to travel with the team when they leave for Portland Wednesday. The Celtics will remain on the West Coast until they return to play the Raptors in Boston on March 31.

Stevens said he has not thought about the possibility of missing Irving for the remainder of the season, adding that the 25-year-old could return at any point — even during their road trip.

“I don’t really think about it until I’m told something like that,” he told reporters. “I think, at the end of the day, if he doesn’t go on the trip and we know he’s going to be gone for four games, then we have to prepare for those four games regardless.”

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Stevens also emphasized that Irving is not sidelined because the team is electing to rest him in preparation for the postseason: “This is not one of those situations where we’re choosing to rest somebody. He’s out because he has a sore knee.”

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on SportsCenter Tuesday night the hope is that rest will be sufficient recovery for Irving to eventually return.

“The one thing that hasn’t changed with this Kyrie Irving injury I’m told is that there’s no structural damage in that sore left knee,” Wojnarowski said. “They still believe in Boston that the best remedy to get him better and back is rest.”