Kyrie Irving left Fiserv Forum in crutches and a walking boot after suffering an ankle injury in Game 4 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs semifinal series between the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday.
Without two of their star players and Kevin Durant carrying much of the workload, the Nets succumbed to the Bucks 107-96.
It’s an unfortunate turn of events for the championship-contending Brooklyn Nets, who are going into a crucial Game 5 matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks, potentially without two of their stars, Kyrie Irving and James Harden.
As the series shifts to Brooklyn with the teams tied at 2-2, the future doesn’t look too bright for the Nets.
How Kyrie Irving’s injury occurred
The Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks were in the thick of a heated battle when Kyrie Irving made a layup with 6:04 remaining in the second quarter of Game 4.
On his way down, he landed on the foot of the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Nets star immediately clutched his right foot after falling to the floor. He left for the locker room on his own strength but would not return to the game.
At that point in the game, Irving had scored 11 points on 5-of-11 shooting with five rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block. The Brooklyn Nets were down by only four points, 44-40, at the time of Irving’s injury.
What does Kyrie Irving’s injury mean for the rest of the Milwaukee Bucks vs Brooklyn Nets series?
The seven-time All-Star’s status for the next few games of the series remains up in the air, although there is a bit of good news for the Brooklyn Nets.
According to Nets coach Steve Nash, Kyrie Irving's initial X-ray results were negative. However, he will undergo further testing and treatment before a realistic timetable for his return can be determined.
"I have no idea what's going to happen with [Kyrie] in the coming days," Nash said. "We'll cross our fingers and hope that it's better than -- I don't know, better than what? -- better than missing the next game."
What does Kyrie Irving’s injury mean for James Harden’s return from hamstring issues?
James Harden aggravated his hamstring injury less than a minute into Game 1 of the current series and has not played since.
With Kyrie Irving’s injury potentially taking him out the rest of the way, will the Brooklyn Nets fast-track Harden's return?
"James is an independent case,” Nash said. “I don't want James to be rushed back. If he's able to play next game or the game after, that's fantastic. If he's not, I don't want to rush him back and jeopardize doing something worse or making this a long-term injury. So we'll see. We'll have to take all of these things into account, and evaluate them and try to make a smart decision."
Given that their championship hopes are on the line, the Brooklyn Nets might consider getting James Harden back on the court as soon as possible.
If Kyrie Irving’s injury makes him unavailable for Game 5, they might not have a choice but to activate one of their stars in Game 6.