When the Brooklyn Nets head to TD Garden on Wednesday, which will mark their first matchup against the Boston Celtics of the season, Kyrie Irving won’t be on the floor.
Irving will miss the next three games for the Nets — including what would have been his first game back in Boston against his former team — with a lingering shoulder injury, the team announced on Friday night. He will also miss their game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Sunday and against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday.
Irving has been sidelined with a right shoulder impingement he suffered against the Utah Jazz earlier this month, and missed Brooklyn’s last four games. While he’s played since that game against the Jazz, he’s done so in pain, which kept him out of practice this week and forced him to undergo daily treatment.
“I don’t think it’s something he can play through right now,” Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson said Thursday, via ESPN. “The shoulder is a sensitive spot, especially for a point guard — you’re like a quarterback.”
Irving’s return to Boston was sure to be memorable, to say the least.
The 27-year-old spent his past two seasons with the Celtics after he was traded to Boston from Cleveland, and publicly said that he planned to sign with the team again in free agency this past summer. Irving, though, went back on his promise and signed a four-year, $136 million deal with the Nets instead.
He has been great for the Nets this season, averaging 28.5 points and 7.2 assists in 11 games. Brooklyn has won three of its last four without him, too, including a 116-97 win against the Kings on Friday night at the Barclays Center.
Atkinson, per ESPN, said he wants to see a pain-free practice for Irving before he makes his return. He’s not sure how long that will end up taking.
“He’s got to get to the point where he feels like — and we feel like — he can play,” Atkinson said, via ESPN. “We’re just not at that point right now.”
More from Yahoo Sports: