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Sports writers know they will often be given only a small percentage of the facts surrounding player injuries and recovery. Knowing this, when I wrote about Kyrie Irving's initial "minimally invasive" surgery in a March 23, 2018 CelticsLife article, I assumed that surgery would be to remove the screws that had been implanted in 2015. This is what I wrote:

There is a good chance that the planned surgery involves removal of the screws from the area of the knee, and from what I have learned, this will leave small holes in the bones where the screws had originally been embedded. This would weaken the bone and leave it more susceptible to further injury. Recovery time is 4-8 weeks, and the chance of re-injury remains even after recovery.

That surgery did not involve screw removal, but rather less-invasive wire removal. It obviously did not work. The second surgery did involve getting the screws out, and the 4-8 weeks of recovery does not include time for bone-growth to fill in the holes, thus the chance of re-injury. And now we know there was infection involved, so Kyrie's time-line is roughly 4-7 months.

So it appears that everyone involved, including Irving, knew that screw extraction would need to be done at some point, but with a 4-8 week unsafe timeline and a 4-7 month safe recovery period, the question is when the hell does an NBA team have time to get that done.

What I find personally astounding is that Kyrie accomplished so much in his new role with Boston while plagued with the pain and discomfort of the irritation and infection. We still don't have the full story on the surgeries, but we have been told that no structural damage has occurred in Irving's knee. If that is correct, he should be 100% by the start of next season.

Will this change Kyrie's future with the Celtics? I doubt that, but with Danny Ainge, anything can happen (and has)! Make no mistake, if Danny sees an opportunity to better the team in any way, he will go for it (at the right price). But Kyrie has been a real warrior and is damn exciting to watch. We wish him well on his recovery and hope to see him back at full strength in September.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Dale Zanine/USAT






Tom Lane 4/06/2018 08:13:00 AM Edit
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