CLEVELAND (AP) — When the Cavaliers opened training camp, star point guard Kryrie Irving insisted he wasn't worried about being injury prone.
Well, he's hurt again.
Irving will miss at least one month with a broken left index finger, an injury the Cavs initially diagnosed as a bruise before tests revealed a fracture. The NBA's reigning rookie of the year got hurt in the third quarter Saturday night against Dallas. X-rays were negative and he returned to the game with his finger wrapped.
He played Sunday at Philadelphia, but scored a season-low nine points on 4-of-14 shooting as Cleveland dropped its sixth straight game. On Monday, he underwent an MRI and other tests which showed a hairline/non-displaced fracture. The Cavs said Irving's finger will be taped and placed in a splint. He will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
It's the latest injury for the talented 20-year-old, who broke his right hand during a summer practice when he slammed it in frustration against a padded wall when the team was in Las Vegas. Irving played in just 11 games as a freshman at Duke because of a foot tendon injury, which took more than one year to heal completely.
Last season, Irving missed 15 games with a concussion and shoulder injury.
As the Cavs opened camp in October, Irving was asked about a label of being fragile.
"I'm not worried about being injury prone," he said. "Not at all."
Irving added five pounds of muscle during the offseason so he would be able to handle any contact on drives to the basket. But he wound up losing the weight after he had four wisdom teeth pulled.
Irving's injury isn't the only one impacting the Cavs.
Second-year forward Tristan Thompson sustained a nasal fracture in Sunday's loss to the Sixers. He will be fitted with a protective mask and is projected to be available for Wednesday's home game against Philadelphia.
Also, guard Daniel Gibson has a bruised right elbow.
The Cavs just got back rookie center Tyler Zeller from a concussion and broken cheekbone. Zeller was elbowed in the face during a recent game in Los Angeles and is playing with a protective mask. He scored six points against the Sixers.
With Irving out, coach Byron Scott, who gave his road-weary team the day off Monday, will have to juggle his starting lineup and rotation. He could move rookie Dion Waiters from shooting guard to the point.
Scott has been disappointed with his team's defense so far this season, but without Irving to run the offense for a while, he's got much bigger concerns.