Cavaliers-Magic Preview

(AP) - Kyrie Irving's getting on a plane with the Cleveland Cavaliers. His next trip could be onto the floor.

The All-Star point guard, who hasn't played since breaking his left kneecap in Game 1 of last season's NBA Finals, could make his much-anticipated 2015-16 debut in the next few days.

Coach David Blatt said Thursday that Irving - and starting guard Iman Shumpert, who has been out with a right wrist injury - will travel with the team and may play either Friday against the Orlando Magic or Tuesday in Boston.

"There's a chance that one of the two or both will play on the trip, but there's also a chance they don't," Blatt said following practice at Cleveland Clinic Courts. "We'll see how they're feeling."

Shumpert is expected to be activated but told reporters at Friday morning's shootaround that he wasn't sure he would play. Irving remains inactive.

Irving and Shumpert both made it through their third full practices Thursday and accompanied the team on the two-game swing. Blatt stressed the team will stay cautious. Cleveland's eyeing a return to the Finals and the Cavs don't want to unnecessarily rush back two of their best players.

"We're in December," Blatt said. "Not a normal situation. Both of them are coming back from pretty serious injuries, but they are progressing."

Irving played in a career-high 75 games last season before getting hurt while making a move in the finals against Golden State, which defeated the Cavs in six games.

Cleveland leads the Eastern Conference with a 14-7 record, quite an accomplishment considering the Cavs have been without two starters. Once Irving and Shumpert return, Cleveland will be as healthy as it has been since the beginning of last spring's playoffs.

Irving will give the Cavs another playmaker and scorer, while Shumpert provides them with a perimeter defender who can match up with the opponent's best wing player.

"They give us a real boost, a real shoot in the arm because of their particular skills and what they bring to the table for us," Blatt said.

With Shumpert out, J.R. Smith has been starting alongside Mo Williams. Blatt said he has yet to decide if Shumpert will return to the starting lineup. Smith, meanwhile, will miss Friday's game with an illness.

Whenever Irving and Shumpert return, Blatt promised to ease them back before increasing their minutes to normal levels.

"I'd like to see them be able to come and play significant minutes or at least minutes that give them the chance to feel the court long enough to contribute or get something out of it," Blatt said.

The Cavs still have LeBron James to lean on. After resting in Saturday's loss at Miami, James had 33 points and 10 rebounds as Cleveland rallied from an 18-point deficit in Tuesday's 105-100 win over Portland that snapped a three-game skid.

Irving finished with 33 points in a 123-108 win March 15 in the most recent meeting in Orlando. Kevin Love scored 34 and hit six 3-pointers Nov. 23, while J.R. Smith added 26 with six 3s in a 117-103 victory in the first matchup this season.

The Cavs have won the past 11 games against the Magic by an average of 14.1 points.

After riding a five-game winning streak, Orlando dropped two of the last three on a five-game road swing. Nikola Vucevic had 21 points and 11 rebounds Wednesday, but the Magic (12-10) struggled down the stretch in a 107-104 loss at Phoenix.

"In order for us to turn the corner, we have to be consistent night in and night out," forward Tobias Harris said.

Orlando will try to bounce back at home, where it has won seven of its past eight.


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