BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics will be without Kyrie Irving on Wednesday night when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves at TD Garden.
That absence could extend even longer, according to head coach Brad Stevens.
The C’s guard has been ruled out for Wednesday’s contest with an eye injury he suffered in Monday night’s loss in San Antonio. Irving had his eye swiped by Spurs guard Marco Belinelli as the two battled for a rebound, leading to a “scratched eye,” as head coach Brad Stevens explained after the loss.
Stevens that Irving could be out for some time with the “unique” injury in a radio interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak & Bertrand on Wednesday.
“It was a unique deal because it got both eyes. The right eye was the initial concern with the corneal abrasion. The left eye had some inflammation [Wednesday], so he wasn’t feeling good. We watched film for an hour and a half in my office [on Tuesday], and he was wearing sunglasses. He’s not doing so hot once he takes those sunglasses off,” explained Stevens.
Irving was wearing sunglasses when he addressed reporters following Monday’s 120-111 loss in San Antonio, and said he was in pretty rough shape at the time.
“I’m wearing sunglasses, so not too good. I’ll be all right, though,” Irving said Monday. “[Belinelli] smacked the [crud] out of me. He just caught me pretty good.”
Asked which eye was scratched, Irving told reporters that both of them were bothering him. That would certainly make it difficult to play on Wednesday, but perhaps “Masked Kyrie” will make another appearance when the point guard returns to the lineup.
Irving had 16 points off 7-for-14 shooting and eight assists against the Spurs, and leads the Celtics with 23.1 points per game on the season. He scored 21 points and dished out nine assists when the Celtics beat the Timberwolves, 118-109, in Minnesota back on Dec. 1.
Backup point guard Terry Rozier will likely get the start in Irving’s place during his absence.
The Wolves may also be a little short in their backcourt when they come to Boston. Derrick Rose, who is averaging 18.9 points per game for Minnesota, is listed as doubtful and will likely miss his third straight game with a right ankle sprain.
The Celtics have already ruled out centers Aron Baynes (hand) and Robert Williams (groin strain) for Wednesday’s contest.