The Boston Celtics will have to go through the playoffs without Kyrie Irving.
The star point guard will need surgery on his left knee and miss the rest of the regular season and postseason. The team on Thursday put his recovery time at four to five months.
Irving hasn’t played since March 11 and says he won’t dwell on what might have been.
“The hardest thing to do sometimes is accept the uncontrollable things life throws at you,” he wrote in an Instagram post. “It’s simply a test of your perseverance and will, to be present, even in the wake of what’s going on.”
In the upcoming surgery, two screws will be removed. They were implanted after Irving’s patellar fracture during the 2015 NBA Finals. Irving recently developed an infection at the site of the screws, and now they must be taken out.
Following his original procedure last month, the team had said the knee was structurally sound and the kneecap healed, but the wire had been putting pressure on the knee.
This is Irving’s first season in Boston after he demanded to be traded from Cleveland. And the player he was dealt for, Isaiah Thomas, is done for the year following hip surgery.
Irving believes his best basketball is ahead of him.
“This season was only a snapshot of what’s to come from me,” he said in his post. “Trust Me. The journey back to the top of Mt. Everest continues.”
This latest news isn’t surprising considering the tight recovery window Irving faced. But it is a blow to a Celtics team that had been playing well despite a run of recent injuries to key players. Boston will likely enter the playoffs as the No. 2 seed behind Toronto.
In addition to Irving, Marcus Smart is sidelined following right thumb surgery and Daniel Theis is out for the season after left knee surgery. And Gordon Hayward is not expected back as he recovers from his gruesome ankle surgery in the season opener.
Offseason pickup Marcus Morris averaged nearly 20 points a game last month and was key in Boston’s recent six-game win streak. Rookie Jayson Tatum has also stepped up, scoring in double figures in eight straight games before that streak ended in Wednesday’s loss at Toronto.