The Cleveland Cavaliers said Sunday that point guard Kyrie Irving won't play in Monday's road game against the Philadelphia 76ers due to lower back tightness. It's unclear if Irving will also have to miss more time.
Irving won't make the trip to Philadelphia with the team, instead staying behind to do rehab work on his back. It's unclear if he'll have to miss any games beyond Monday.
Irving said he first experienced back pain in the team's 91-87 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday and that it was made worse when he fell on his back. The 22-year-old left Sunday's 109-90 loss against the Dallas Mavericks in the third quarter and did not return after scoring a season-low six points.
"I'm just in a lot of pain right now," Irving said. "Just have spasms, tightness. I have to do what I can to get better."
"It disturbed him today," said Cavs coach David Blatt. "He was struggling, as you saw. He gave what he had but, that's why we pulled him out early and just rested him for the rest of the game. Obviously that made it difficult for us, but most importantly we just didn't want to risk him, so we pulled him out."
Irving also missed two games last month due to a knee bruise.
His situation adds to the Cavaliers' injury woes. Center Anderson Varejao was lost for the season when he tore his Achilles tendon last month, and the team announced Thursday that forward LeBron James would be out two weeks with knee and back strains.
The Cavaliers loss on Sunday was their fourth in the past five games. After traveling to Philadelphia, Cleveland hosts the Houston Rockets on Wednesday and then begin a five-game Western Conference road trip on Friday at the Golden State Warriors.
The Cavaliers are 19-15 this season and in second place in the Central Division.
- Ben Estes