Kyrie Irving reportedly set to undergo shoulder procedure and expected to miss extended period of time

Rick Laughland

Kyrie Irving's season could be in jeopardy after sources told The Athletic that the point guard will undergo a procedure that could sideline him indefinitely. 

The Nets are playing things close to the vest and it's unclear how invasive the surgery will be and how much time the star is expected to miss. If the procedure is orthoscopic in nature, there's an outside change that Irving could be back in time for a playoff run, but the more likely scenario is the Nets shut him down for the season and get him healthy for the 2021 season. 

Kevin Durant has already intimated that he will not be returning this year following Achilles surgery and with Brooklyn signing the superstar duo each to a 4-year deal, the franchise has a long-term vested interest in getting them fully healthy before clearing them to return to the court. 

Irving has missed 32 of 52 games this season with nagging shoulder and knee ailments and while much of the criticism has been centered on his lack of leadership, it's the point guard's durability concerns that should really be brought into question. 

The young nucleus of Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen could use more playoff-time experience and with the Nets virtually locked into the seventh or eighth seed with or without Irving, the smart decision is to shut him down as it won't change the trajectory of this season one iota. 

Brooklyn leads the ninth seeded Wizards by five games and trails Indiana by six games and Philadelphia by seven games. It's unlikely that the Nets will move out of playoff contention even with Irving not in the lineup. Brooklyn is not ready to make the jump to catch the Pacers or Sixers with a healthy Irving, so it's time to look at the bigger picture and focus on getting the young core some much needed reps and big game experience ahead of next season.