Rehabbed Irving ready for debut with Cavs
CLEVELAND – Kyrie Irving's long road to recovery has reached the end. The pain, the grueling hours of rehab, the unceasing wait are finally over for the Cavaliers' star point guard. He can play again.
"I'm back," he wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
Irving will make his season debut Sunday against the Philadelphia 76ers, returning to the floor for the first time since breaking his left kneecap in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
More than six months since he crumpled to the floor while trying to make a move against Golden State, Irving, 23, will be back in uniform for the Cavs.
Irving has felt nerves before games, but none like the ones he's certain to have as he completes his comeback.
"This is kind of a new chapter," he said following practice. "It'll be a different experience, but just the amount of practice, the amount of time I put in, the amount of work that is coming to fruition and I'm just excited that it can happen now."
•THUNDER HANDLES L.A. WITH EASE: Kevin Durant had 22 points and eight rebounds, Enes Kanter had 19 points and 14 rebounds and the Thunder beat the Lakers 118-78 for their eighth consecutive home victory. Russell Westbrook added 13 points and 11 assists for his 18th double-double of the season for Oklahoma City. The Thunder won for the fifth straight time against the Lakers. Kobe Bryant sat for Los Angeles because of a sore right shoulder, and the Lakers started seldom-used rookie Anthony Brown in his place. Lou Williams scored 20 points and Jordan Clarkson added 15, but the Lakers lost for the 15th time in 17 games. The Lakers' point total was their second-lowest this season and the lowest by an Oklahoma City opponent since the Thunder beat the Miami Heat 93-75 on March 22. The Thunder flirted with breaking their record for margin of victory, which is 45 points.
•TEAGUE WON'T MISS TIME: Atlanta point guard Jeff Teague, who twisted his ankle in Friday's victory over the Celtics, will be available for the Hawks' game Sunday in Orlando, the team said. Teague turned his ankle on a drive to the basket and came out with 4:32 remaining in the third quarter. Dennis Schroder replaced Teague and played the remainder of the game.
•COSTLY WORDS: Indiana's Paul George was fined $35,000 by the NBA for public criticism of officiating and using profanity in a live television interview following the Pacers' 104-97 home victory over Brooklyn on Saturday night.