Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cavs’ Irving ready to return

source: TOM WITHERS | AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP)—Kyrie Irving is ready to play. It’s now up to the doctors to decide when that will happen.

Cleveland’s rookie guard made it through a complete practice Tuesday and appears poised to return after missing three games with a concussion on Wednesday against Indiana.

“Young fella looked good,” said Ramon Sessions, who has started at the point while Irving recovered. “He’s getting back in the groove. He looked back to normal, and we’re happy to have him back. He’s a key part of this team.”

Irving will be back in Cleveland’s starting lineup as long as he’s cleared by the team’s medical staff, which will consult with an NBA doctor per the league’s new guidelines on head injuries implemented this season.

Coach Byron Scott said those discussions were already taking place and the Cavs were awaiting word from the league.

“He went through everything today, full contact and looked pretty good,” Scott said. “We still have to wait on NBA protocol to when he can play. We have to make sure everything is OK.”

On Monday, Irving, who is averaging 18 points and 5.1 assists per game, only participated in non-contact drills. But he was on the floor for the entire workout Tuesday and came away unscathed.

“He was out there the whole time,” Sessions said. “He didn’t sit out for any drills and we expect him to play tomorrow. He looked the same. He was getting work in when he didn’t have any contact, and today was a day where he got beat around a little bit and he looked good.”

Irving was not available for interviews following practice.

He sustained the concussion last week in Miami when he was inadvertently kneed in the head by Heat star Dwyane Wade during the fourth quarter. Irving didn’t begin showing concussion symptoms until after the game and the Cavs did not diagnose him until shortly before tip-off the following day against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Irving sat on the bench for Cleveland’s next two games. He began doing some conditioning on Saturday and has gradually added more to his workouts in the past few days.

As long as Irving is cleared, Scott said there will be no restrictions on him as far as how many minutes he plays.

“He will resume his normal duties,” Scott said. “No holds barred.”

The Cavaliers did not have any update on starting center Anderson Varejao, who broke his right wrist last week and could be out for a significant period.

Varejao is expected to undergo further tests. It’s not known if he needs surgery.