BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Celtics may be closer to full strength Monday night when they host the Brooklyn Nets.
After missing two games with a pair of scratched eyes, point guard Kyrie Irving is expected to play Monday night. Irving practiced with the team on Sunday and spoke about the play that led to a scratched cornea in his right eye with a lot of inflammation in his left, courtesy of Spurs guard Marco Belinelli as the two battled for an offensive rebound last Monday night in San Antonio.
“I think he got both eyes pretty good, because when the offensive rebound came off the rim, my eyes, they kind of widened and then he caught me as I was about to go attack the basketball,” Irving told reporters in Brighton, via The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn. “So I see the ball go off the rim, I miss, my eyes are wide open and he comes and gets me. It’s OK.”
Irving wasn’t too pleased with the play, and said he watched it numerous times to try to determine if the swipe to his eyes was intentional by Belinelli.
“But I don’t think it was, so I’ll let it go,” said Irving. “I got hit pretty good, and it was good to get a few days of rest as well.”
Irving said it will take some time for his eyes to return to normal, but he’ll be ready to return to action Monday night. The Celtics won both games without Irving last week, but will gladly welcome their MVP candidate back to the lineup with a tough stretch ahead. After hosting the Nets on Monday, the Celtics welcome the three-seeded Indiana Pacers to Boston before hitting the road against the Miami Heat on Thursday night.
Elsewhere on the injury front, forward Marcus Morris also expects to return Monday after missing a game with a stiff neck he sustained last Wednesday. Morris has been one of Boston’s most consistent players this season, averaging a career-high 15.4 points and six rebounds per game.
As for big man Aron Baynes, he is expected to be re-evaluated early this week. He hasn’t practiced since breaking a bone in his hand on Dec. 19.