Cleveland Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving will return from a shoulder injury to play on Sunday night against the New Orleans Hornets, the team announced.
Irving has missed the team's last eight games with an AC sprain of his left shoulder -- suffered during a March 10 game against the Raptors -- that was expected to sideline him for three-to-four weeks. He will sit out Monday's game as a precaution as "he takes steps in his recovery," the team said, according to NBA.com's David Aldridge and the Associated Press' Tom Withers.
The Cavs went just 1-7 in his absence and are currently on a seven-game losing streak.
Irving has been the breakout player of the 2012-13 season, averaging 23.0 points and 5.7 assists per game while shooting 41.4 percent from three-point range. The 21-year-old was the first overall pick out of Duke in last year's NBA draft.
But he has been unable to escape the injury bug, also missing time during the preseason with a broken hand and in November with a broken index finger.
Irving has played 49 games this season after playing 51 as a rookie -- missing much of the last month with a similar right shoulder sprain -- and just 11 in his lone season at Duke.