The scene at the Capital one arena was not pretty. Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving fell on top of Bradley Beal, rolled over and grabbed his knee. He was down on the ground for several minutes with his teammates huddled around him. While it looked worse while Irving was on the ground, the Nets say he suffered a knee sprain.
Update: Kyrie Irving has been diagnosed with a medial ligament sprain in his right knee and his expected to be re-evaluated in one week, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Irving did not leave the contest immediately. He was helped up off the floor by his teammates but staying in the game, squaring off with Beal for the jump ball. The ref tossed up the ball. Irving did not jump. The Wizards gained possession and called timeout. Coach Kenny Atkinson subbed Irving out and the point guard then made his way to the locker room.
“I always say this, we pay 17 guys on the roster,” Atkinson told Heavy.com and other media members in attendance. “A guy goes down, that’s our job. You have to step up. You have to step up to the level of that player you’re replacing or better. That’s our goal. That’s where we want to get to…We have sufficient talent in there and good guys, and good players. Guys will have to step up.”
Irving was in good spirits after the contest. He was walking around without assistance, though he was noticeably limping.
Irving called the incident a “weird fall.” He said he worried that it was worse while he was lying on the court in Washington.
“I have no idea,” Beal said when asked about the play where he was guarding Irving and the point guard got hurt. “I just know we both came down. I couldn’t tell you if I wanted to.”
Irving wasn’t having the best game before the injury. He was scoreless in the fourth quarter. He finishes with just 11 points, one night after putting up 54 in a very efficient performance.
“What a week, I’m OK though,” Irving said after the Wizards game, which was the second of a back-to-back.
Brooklyn’s Playoff Picture
The Nets remain in the playoff picture, owning the seventh seed in the conference. The Magic sit just a half-game behind them and the Bulls and Wizards are 3.5 and 4 games back of the Nets, respectively.
“I think a lot of NBA teams go through this,” Atkinson said of the team’s injuries. “We can’t use that as an excuse. Obviously, we’re a much better team with him. As I said, we’ve been through this before. I think guys will step up. Now guys will have an opportunity. Obviously, there will be some wing minutes and some point guard minutes to be had. Guys are going to have to fill in. Again, not play just filler minutes, play to a certain level that we need to keep us afloat.”
Center Jarrett Allen credited Beal, who probably should have been an All-Star, for the Wizards’ ability to take down the Nets. Still, he admitted that it’s tough to be consistent with so many players in-and-out of the lineups.
“A little bit, but at the end of the day, coach always preaches the message, next man up,” Allen said. “We have to learn how to play with each other,” Allen said “We have to learn how to get in a groove with everybody. It is hard, but we have to be professionals and do it.”