The Dallas Mavericks are going to be without star guard Kyrie Irving for an unspecified period of time.
According to head coach Jason Kidd, Irving is wearing a protective boot and using crutches after suffering a heel injury on Dec. 8. There’s no definitive timetable for the 31-year-old to return.
Kyrie Irving (right heel contusion) is wearing a protective boot and using crutches, Jason Kidd said. No definitive timetable on when Irving will return.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 12, 2023
Kidd’s update on Irving isn’t exactly encouraging, though the eight-time All-Star’s injury could have been worse.
The Mavs reportedly felt fortunate to learn that Irving’s injury — which a source initially described as a bruise to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon — wasn’t more severe. The injury is now being referred to as a right heel contusion.
Mavs feel fortunate that Kyrie Irving suffered “just a bruise” from Dwight Powell’s fall on Irving’s right foot, a source told ESPN. Irving has dealt with soreness in that foot throughout the season. His status for Monday’s game in Memphis has yet to be determined.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 9, 2023
Irving’s injury was certainly an alarming sight for Mavs fans when it happened.
The fact that Irving isn’t dealing with something more severe has to be considered a win for the Mavs. But that’s not going to make his absence any easier to navigate, and given the latest update, one can only guess how long Dallas will have to survive without the former No. 1 overall pick.
Irving’s status will almost certainly mean a bigger load for Luka Doncic, a role the 24-year-old is no stranger to. Doncic has led the NBA in usage rate twice already in his young career, and while his usage is down this season (thanks in part to Irving), he’s likely going to have to pick up the slack for the foreseeable future.
The Mavs have a 14-8 record and currently sit in the No. 3 spot in the Western Conference, but they’re going to be tested in the coming days with games against quality opponents. On Tuesday, they’ll host the Los Angeles Lakers (who just won the league’s In-Season Tournament), and on Thursday, they’ll host the Minnesota Timberwolves (who have the best record in the NBA).
Availability concerns are often a topic of conversation when it comes to Irving. He did a decent job of staying on the floor in the 2022-23 regular season, appearing in 60 games, but he’s now on the shelf for an unknown period of time with 17 games under his belt in the current campaign.