Kyrie Irving to Undergo Season-Ending Shoulder Surgery, GM Says

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Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving will have shoulder surgery and miss the remainder of the season, Nets GM Sean Marks announced Thursday. 

"We look at our players' long-term health as a No. 1 priority," Marks said. "Kyrie has been adamant that he was gonna take one cortisone shot and see where it goes. You know we're looking at the big picture here. We're not looking at the next two, three months. We're looking at the next two, three years."

Earlier Thursday reports surfaced that Irving was planning on undergoing a right-shoulder procedure after re-aggravating his injury earlier this week. Irving consulted a specialist this week and opted for the season-ending procedure. Head coach Kenny Atkinson also said on Tuesday that Irving would be out indefinitely.

Irving has already missed 26 games as a result of the shoulder injury. He had said that the pain started during the Nets' Nov. 4 game against the Pelicans.

Previously, Irving said he couldn't "really lift my shoulder to get up in that jump shot position" as a result of the injury.

Irving saw an Arizona-based specialist in December and received a cortisone shot on Dec. 24. He said at the time that he hoped the cortisone would eliminate an immediate need for surgery, but it appears it only delayed the procedure. 

The No. 1 pick in the 2011 NBA draft has played in just 20 games this season but averaged 27.4 points and 6.4 assists per game.

Irving agreed to a four-year, $141 million deal with the Nets this summer, after opting out of his $21.3 million deal with the Celtics. At the time, reports surfaced that Irving had long been "serious" about signing with Brooklyn. The Nets cleared cap space for Irving and another max free agent by trading Allen Crabbe and his $18.5 million contract to the Hawks on draft day. Brooklyn used the space to also sign free agent forward Kevin Durant to a four-year, $164 million deal, who is not expected to play this season.

The Nets entered the All-Star break at 25–28, seventh in the Eastern Conference. They play Thursday against the 76ers, with tipoff set for 8 p.m. ET.