Kyrie Irving missed the start of training camp and the Brooklyn Nets’ first pre-season win over Sesi Franca at the Barclays Center with a facial fracture picked up during a pickup game in the offseason. The point guard returned to action when the Nets played the Los Angeles Lakers in china but his return was short-lived.
The former Boston Celtics guard started the game in Shanghai with a face mask but lasted just over a minute before he had to leave the court after taking a knock on the face from Rajon Rondo. The Nets listed his injury as a facial contusion but it is not thought to be serious despite the player opting not to return to court for the rest of the game, according to New York Post.
Irving was visibly incensed on the sidelines after being forced off the court but his absence did not affect the overall outcome of the game as the Nets recorded a 114-111 win over the Lakers, who had looked dominant during their first pre-season win over Golden State Warriors. Spencer Dinwiddie replaced Irving for the rest of the game and impressed with 20 points and 7 assists in 25 minutes.
The injury nightmare for the Nets did not end with Irving going off the court as just a few seconds after the point guard’s exit they lost shooting guard Caris LeVert after he was poked in the eye during an offensive play. He returned to the locker room and was initially listed as questionable but failed to return for the rest of the game.
The Nets will hope that both injuries are not serious as they prepare for the start of the new campaign. Dinwiddie is the only other backup guard they possess in the absence of Irving and LeVert. Second-year players Dzanan Musa and Theo Pinson were left to split ball handling duties when Dinwiddie was off the court.
The Brooklyn franchise is already without key player Kevin Durant, who is not expected to return for the whole of the 2019-20 season after suffering a ruptured Achilles during Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals between the Warriors and Toronto Raptors.