Irving out of Game 5 clash with Buck

Published June 15, 2021, 9:53 AM

by Agence-France-Presse

Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets is injured during the first half of Game Four of the Eastern Conference second round playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Fiserv Forum on June 13, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Kyrie Irving has been ruled out of the Brooklyn Nets’ crucial Game Five of their NBA playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks after suffering a sprained right ankle, coach Steve Nash said Monday.

Irving was injured during the second quarter of the Nets’ loss to the Bucks in game four on Sunday after a collision with Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks and Nets are tied at 2-2 in the best-of-seven matchup.

Irving’s injury means just one member of the Nets vaunted “Big Three” — Kevin Durant — is fit for Game Five on Tuesday, with James Harden also currently out injured.

Nash said Monday he had “no idea” whether Irving, who left the arena on Sunday on crutches, would be fit to play later in the series.

“I have to wait and see how it progresses,” Nash said. “The experts would have to wait and see how it progresses and give you a clearer picture on what the window would be for his return.”

Nash, meanwhile, played down suggestions that Antetokounmpo had been guilty of a “dirty” play in the collision with Irving that left the Nets star injured, describing it as “awkward.”

“I wouldn’t want to go in Giannis’s head,” Nash said. “I think it would be a big stretch for me to sit here and say he meant to do that in any way.

“I don’t believe that’s the type of person he is, nor is what I believe happened. It was awkward and unfortunate.”

Meanwhile, with Irving and Harden missing, Durant said Monday he was ready to shoulder the load for the Nets as they attempt to regain the initiative against the Bucks, having led the series 2-0 at one stage.

“I picture me doing everything out there just like I do every night,” Durant said Monday. “I might have to handle the ball more.

I might have to post up more. I just got to be prepared to do everything out there — just like I do any night.”