SH Blog: Kyrie Irving could still return this season, Love considers shutting it down

Kyrie Irving 2If you are a lottery team heading towards nowhere in particular as the season winds down, what do you do when your best player is due back from an injury?

Do you play him in a bunch of meaningless games and risk further injury, or do you play him in hopes of finding chemistry development for next season?

That is the question a number of teams are currently dealing with, including the Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves and – to an extent – Toronto Raptors.

Starting off with the Cavaliers, Byron Scott will play Kyrie Irving if he is healthy, from Jason Lloyd of Beacon Journal:

“I don’t care if there’s one game left in the season and you’ve won three, it’s still all about the competition and trying to win basketball games,” Scott said. “You’ve got to take a stand in there somewhere in just your love for the game. My man Herm [Edwards] said it best, you play to win the game, period. I don’t care how many games are left.”

“If he’s cleared medically and there’s still a season going on, I still have to see him in practice. Then after that it’s sitting down and talking to him and seeing how he feels and going from there,” Scott said. “Just because there’s six games left, I wouldn’t say, ‘We’re going to shut you down and not play you at all’ when I know he’s healthy and capable of playing.”

Kevin Love, on the other hand, could shut it down if he isn’t cleared immediately by a doctor this week. Ray Richardson of Pioneer Press has more:

If the doctor says another week to 10 days or something like that, who knows?” Love said before the Wolves’ game Sunday against Chicago at Target Center. “I’d like to come back, but I know not playing (the rest of the season) has crossed the minds of other people, whether it’s (Wolves president of basketball operations Kahn) David, Glen (Wolves owner Taylor) or coach (Rick Adelman).”… Love has appeared in only 18 games this season after breaking the third and fourth metacarpal bones in his right hand on two occasions, the first while doing knuckle push-ups at his home in October. He broke the same bones again on Jan. 3 when he collided with Denver forward Kenneth Faried. Surgery was not recommended for Love after the first injury, but there was little debate after he reinjured his hand in Denver. Love said Sunday that having the surgery has made a difference in the healing “this time around,” though his hand.”

Rudy Gay, who probably would play if he was still with the Memphis Grizzlies, could also be shut down by the Raptors, from ESPN:

Rudy Gay on Saturday missed his third game this month with back problems, and Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey said he assumes the organization will discuss shutting the team’s leading scorer down. Gay was getting therapy Saturday, and Casey said any decision could be based on how he responds to that. “I would say that it’s something that will be talked about sooner rather than later,” Casey said. Without Gay in the lineup, the Raptors lost 110-84 to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, their fourth straight defeat.

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