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Irving’s original prognosis suggested he’d be out 3-4 months, which put him on track to return before the 2015-16 season began. However, a recent report suggests the Cavs point guard may not be back in action until January.
"“Multiple league sources say his [Irving’s] rehabilitation is going smoothly, but that the chances are slim of him being in the opening-night lineup against the Chicago Bulls on Oct. 27. One source said he could very well be unavailable up until January.”"
Should Cleveland fans be worried? That depends. As far as Irving’s long-term durability is concerned, this is definitely not a good sign for a 23-year-old who’s missed an average of 14 games per season since entering the league in 2011.
But in regards to the Cavaliers’ 2015-16 title chances, it’s not even a bump in the road. A month or two without Irving in the lineup will have little to no effect on the final outcome of the Cavs’ season.
Haynes elaborates on the rationale for prolonging Irving’s recovery:
"“…the thinking is that it would have everything to do with the Cavaliers being patient and cautious rather than the injury not healing.The Cavaliers want to bring him back slowly without risking a setback, with the goal of being at full strength entering the playoffs.”"
LeBron James‘ teams have represented the Eastern Conference in five consecutive NBA Finals. Last year, Cleveland won 53 games and finished as the No. 2 seed in the East. The Cavs still managed to sweep the 60-win Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals without any trouble (and without Kevin Love).
Expectations are that Cleveland will have no serious competition for East supremacy this season. The Cavs might lose a few more games than expected due to Irving’s absence, but as long as he’s ready to go come playoff time, his club will be just fine.
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