WASHINGTON (AP) — Kyrie Irving limped off the court after hurting his right knee, his latest injury coming just 24 hours after his best performance of the season.
A night after scoring a season-high 54 points, Irving was forced to leave in the fourth quarter of the Brooklyn Nets’ 113-107 loss to the Washington Wizards on Saturday.
Irving, who missed nearly two months with a shoulder injury earlier in his first season with the Nets, has a history of injuries to his left knee.
This mishap occurred with 5:31 remaining in the fourth quarter as he and Washington’s Bradley Beal got tangled up on a held ball.
Irving was on the floor for several minutes, holding his right knee. After coming to his feet and remaining on the court for a jump ball – in which he didn’t jump – Irving left the floor with a sprained right knee and a season-low 11 points.
He’ll get an MRI on Sunday. X-rays were negative.
“I’ve done some pretty decent things to my knee in the past,” Irving said. “Just want to make sure my ACL, my MCL, and my PCL, just make sure that our medical staff did their check. The most important thing was just my ACL making sure it was fine. But it was just a weird, weird, weird, weird fall. Just felt a lot of stretching and tension afterwards and just a bad fall.”
Irving said the injury was freakish.
“Brad’s momentum just carried him underneath me,” Irving said.
Irving was just 5 for 12 from the field.
“We did a good job with our game plan of making Kyrie a little frustrated, blitzing him,” Beal said. “Kind of getting the ball out of his hands.”
Irving missed Sunday’s game against the Knicks after learning of Kobe Bryant’s death.
“It’s not irritating, man,” Irving said. “It’s just been one hell of a week, that’s all.”
Beal led all scorers with 34 points. Thomas Bryant had 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Spencer Dinwiddie, who scored 12 straight points for Brooklyn late in the third quarter and early in the fourth, led the Nets with 26 points. Joe Harris had 22 and Jarrett Allen had 13 points and 15 rebounds.
Allen shook his head when he was asked about Irving’s latest injury. At 21, he’s in his third year with Brooklyn, but he’s already seen a lot.
“If you look at the Nets history, it always happens like this,” Allen said. “Ever since I’ve been a Net we’ve always seen people go down.”
It was the second straight victory for the Wizards, just their third winning streak of the season.
Beal, who found out on Thursday that he wasn’t selected for the All-Star Game, has scored at least 30 in six straight games. His free throw with 2:13 to play gave Washington a 107-106 lead.
Nets: Are 2-5 on the second night of back-to-backs. … Coach Kenny Atkinson says Irving reminds him of another player that’s been in the news this week. “Patrick Mahomes, I think he does similar things,” Atkinson said. “I’m no Andy Reid, that’s for sure. I think you have to give great players freedom.” … Garrett Temple scored 17 points, 14 in the first quarter.
Wizards: Coach Scott Brooks hopes that F Rui Hachimura, who hasn’t played since Dec. 16 with a groin injury, is ready to return Monday. He was hoping for a return on Saturday. “It’s not a setback,” Brooks said. “It’s a feel thing. He still has a little bit of rust that we want to take off his game.” … C Moe Wagner (ankle) and G Jordan McRae (ankle) are nearing returns, too, according to Brooks.
Beal, who was miffed by his All-Star exclusion, contends that it’s not an obsession.
“One thing I won’t do is disrespect anybody who made it,” Beal said. “I’m past it … It doesn’t make me or break me. It doesn’t define me as a player.”
Despite losing six of 10, Washington is actually climbing in the standings. The Wizards recently passed both Charlotte and Detroit in the Eastern Conference and trail ninth-place Chicago by a half-game. They’re 3 1/2 games behind Orlando for the eighth spot and four behind Brooklyn for seventh.
“We’re chasing Milwaukee,” Brooks joked about the team with the league’s best record. “We’re not looking at that. We’re not.”
Nets: Host Phoenix on Monday.
Wizards: Host Golden State on Monday.
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