The photo of Irving was posted to Instagram late Saturday night by user @thehapablonde, a fashion, entertainment and sports photographer.
Irving was unavailable for Saturday’s game due to suffering a sprained right index finger in Friday’s loss to the Toronto Raptors, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported, but he still made the trip to Philly along with his Nets teammates.
It was Irving’s first missed game since returning from an undisclosed personal matter that caused him to miss seven games in January. In his five games since returning, Irving had been electric with 29 points, 5.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game.
Nets coach Steve Nash said Irving is day-to-day with his finger injury and the team is hopeful he can play in Brooklyn’s next game Tuesday against the Pistons in Detroit, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post.
Follow the Heavy on Nets Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content out of Brooklyn!
Kyrie Iriving Referenced a Stick Earlier in the Week
It’s the second time Irving has associated himself with a stick in the past week.
“I could not guard a stick today,” Irving said on January 31 following Brooklyn’s 149-146 loss to the Washington Wizards, via SNY. The 149 points were the most allowed by a team in a regulation game this season, a statistic that works well to reflect how the Nets have struggled defensively this season.
“Those guys were just going right around me,” Irving continued, “and I was getting frustrated a little bit, but they kept attacking and that’s what good teams do and good scorers do.”
"I couldn't guard a stick today"
Kyrie says the whole team needs to improve on defense pic.twitter.com/Yk88oeGdVt
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) February 1, 2021
With No Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant, Reserves Get More Minutes
In addition to missing Irving, the Nets also were without Kevin Durant against the 76ers. Durant, who was forced to leave in the middle of Friday’s game against the Toronto Raptors due to COVID-19 contract tracing, was held out due to health and safety protocols.
That left James Harden as the only member of Brooklyn’s Big Three available for the game in Philadelphia, which the Nets lost 124-108. Harden had 26 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.
No Irving or Durant meant increased roles for Landry Shamet and Tyler Johnson, both of whom logged season-highs in minutes on Saturday. Shamet had 22 points in his 33 minutes, and Johnson scored four in his 24 minutes.
“Those guys are playing in the stay-ready group most days,” Nash said, via SNY. “We believe in all these guys, it’s just a matter of, there’s only so many minutes to go around. But if these guys — like Landry is emerging here and earning more minutes. The same goes to the rest of them, if they take their opportunities. So it definitely could impact the minutes. But we’re going to need a bunch of guys here, especially over this week (Nash said Durant is eligible to return on Friday). This would be a scenario, I think, we’ll face later in the season as well at different times. So guys will get their opportunities.”
"Those guys are playing in the 'stay ready' group most days"
Steve Nash talks about some of the Nets reserves getting opportunities recently pic.twitter.com/z85LuBM8rs
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) February 7, 2021