Despite having a strained right foot and tendinitis in his left knee, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving will play in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Chicago Bulls. Despite the fact his points per game and overall touches are down in the last two contests, Irving will not even consider sitting out to rest.
“If the consideration is now, then, I mean, I should have been sitting out maybe about four games ago,” Irving told ESPN. “I just…I can’t do it. Mentally, I can’t do it. I can’t look myself in the mirror and sit on the bench or sit in the locker room while I watch my teammates go out there.
“I’d rather give 30 percent, 40 percent, rather than give none at all. I just literally can’t do it. I can’t sit on the bench and be hurt and be OK with that. And still, I still know I can be effective. So whether I got to the free throw line eight times [like he did in Game 3, going 8-for-8], which I’m still happy about…My jumper may not be falling or the legs under me, but I’m just going to continue to just go.”
In addition to Irving, LeBron James (left ankle) and Iman Shumpert (groin) are also banged up. The Cavs and Bulls are tied 2-2 in the series.