What Kyrie Irving's injury means to the National Basketball Association

Kyrie Irving will not return in time to play in this year's playoffs

This comes in the aftermath of the devastating news that former teammate and current Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving will miss the rest of the regular season and the playoffs after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to fix the effects of a previous knee surgery.

In an effort to remove bacteria in his knee, Irving will undergo surgery on Saturday to remove the screws that were installed when he fractured his kneecap during the 2015 NBA Finals. Irving should be ready for training camp heading into the 2018-19 campaign if everything progresses as expected over the summer, but look for additional updates to be provided as he reaches milestones in his recovery. But Boston and its band of misfits were lead by Rookie Jayson Tatum and a supporting cast that stepped up in big moments like Shane Larkin hitting a 3 to end the 3rd quarter or Terry Rozier shimmy shaking his way to a late 3 pointer with a defender in his face. Even if Cleveland blows doors, the experience of trying to hang with "Playoff LeBron" without the safety net of Irving should harden Boston's role players ahead of a potential 2019 playoff run.

"This season was only a snapshot of what's to come from me", Irving wrote on Instagram.

Irving finished by saying: "Let's go Celtics!" But since the last game that Irving played, the second-year player has shot 53.8 percent on three-pointers. It's simply a test of your perseverance and Will, to be present, even in the wake of what's going on. The Celtics are a solid 7-4 since Irving last played this season, but those wins include victories over Orlando, Sacramento, and Phoenix - none of those really move the needle this season in the National Basketball Association. Irving recently developed an infection at the site of the screws, and now they must be taken out.

Kyrie Irving's absence gives the Boston Celtics a major headache in their playoff campaign. To ensure that no infection remains in the knee, the screws will be removed.

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In 60 games played this season, Irving averaged 24.4 points, 5.1 assists, and 3.8 rebounds per game. Now he's done for the season, joining Hayward, who has been sidelined since his gruesome ankle injury on opening night.

Injuries and Irving seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly.

With Irving becoming unrestricted free agent in 2019 and a Boston's core of young players developing nicely, the Celtics will have the option to add draft talent or to clear max cap space in 2020 and 2021.

- Which of the teams at the bottom of the East playoff picture - the Miami Heat, Washington Wizards and Milwaukee Bucks - are the scariest first-round opponent?

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