Boston Celtics star point guard Kyrie Irving says the infection discovered on the metal wiring and screws in his knee could have evolved into a staph infection, but that it was caught and treated early enough to avoid that outcome.
To treat the infection, Irving said he had a catheter inserted into a vein going into his heart.
"I mean, you ask anybody with an infection, they will probably try to downplay it," Irving told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. "It's a personal thing because your body is going through it. I was fighting an infection in a specific place in your body where you can't necessarily reach with your hands. You got to go in there and kind of see what's going on, and what happened for me was, the metal wiring and the screws that I had in there, the infection was on that, so I had to remove that and then be on antibiotics for about two months.
"It could have evolved to staph, but good thing we caught it early. I am glad that it is done. That was a long, long f---ing two months."
Irving underwent season-ending knee surgery in April and then had another procedure to remove screws which were placed in his knee from the injury he suffered in the 2015 Finals while he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The five-time All-Star point guard hasn’t played 5-on-5 full contact yet, but went through one-on-one drills with his trainer on the first day of Team USA's minicamp.
Before going down, Irving was averaging 24.4 points and 5.1 assists in 60 games with the Celtics while shooting 49.1 percent from the field and 40.8 percent from beyond the arc. The dynamic scorer doesn’t plan on signing a contract extension with the franchise this offseason.
Irving, 26, will be an unrestricted free agent during the summer of 2019 if he declines his player option and likely command a max contract. He is set to make $20.1 million in 2018-19.
Irving detailed how difficult it was to get over the bacterial infection in his knee and how his patience has been tested.
"For the last two months, it was a long, rigorous process, trying to get that infection out and make sure I was safe," Irving said. "And then rehabbing from there. So I have been rehabbing probably for the last month and some change where I can actually do something without much restrictions."
With both Irving and Gordon Hayward expected to be healthy next season, the Celtics are primed to contend for a championship. Without Irving and Hayward during this year’s postseason, Boston took LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals, so one would surmise they will be even more lethal with their two stars back.
"Nothing but excited to lead that group," Irving said. "The most important thing right now is finding our cohesion. So finding that [cohesion] is going to be a process, which I am looking forward to doing with Danny [Ainge], Brad [Stevens], everybody. This is probably one of the first summers in the last seven years where I have actually had time to develop and work on things that I want to improve on. I have been playing USA every summer or I was hurt one summer or we are coming off a championship. It has been a grind, and it kind of caught up with me last season, and now getting a chance to really take my time and focus on my body this summer."
Irving said he expects to be 100 percent for the start of training camp.