Cavs' Irving out next 2 games with concussion
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio – Cavaliers rookie guard Kyrie Irving will spend the weekend resting and recovering from his concussion.
Irving is sitting out Cleveland's next two home games — against Milwaukee and Philadelphia — as the Cavs follow the NBA's new guidelines on treating head injuries with their young star.
"He's getting better but we are going through NBA protocol," coach Byron Scott said following Friday's shootaround. "He'll be out tonight and tomorrow and we'll go from there. He's making improvement but we're not going to risk putting him out there until the doctors say he's fine."
Irving's next chance to play will be Wednesday against Indiana. The Cavs play their next eight games at home.
The 19-year-old Irving was at the team's facility Friday, but Scott said the point guard did not do any physical activity. Under the league's concussion guidelines, which were implemented at the start of training camps, players are not permitted to do anything physical until their symptoms subside completely.
Scott would not address if Irving is still experiencing any symptoms.
Irving, the No. 1 overall draft pick who has helped the Cavs to a surprising 10-14 start, complained of a headache on Wednesday, when he was diagnosed with the concussion shortly before Cleveland hosted the Los Angeles Clippers.
On Tuesday in Miami, Irving was knocked down in the foul lane while driving to the basket in the fourth quarter and his head struck Heat guard Dwyane Wade's knee. Irving did not have any symptoms following the game and returned with the team from Florida.
However, the team said his headache worsened during the night and when he warmed up before the game.
The Cavs intend to be extra careful as they treat Irving, who was evaluated on Thursday at the Cleveland Clinic.
"We all know how serious this thing can be and that's why we are taking such a cautious look at this to make sure that when he comes back he's OK," Scott said. "We don't want to put a young man at risk — that's the biggest thing. The NBA has done a terrific job as far as trying to diagnose and figure out what to do with concussions."
Ramon Sessions started Tuesday night and scored a season-high 24 points with 13 assists as the Cavaliers beat the Clippers in their first game this season without Irving.
Sessions will continue to start while Irving is out. The Cavs also signed Ben Uzoh from Rio Grande of the NBA Development League to a 10-day contract as an insurance policy. Uzoh played in 42 games for New Jersey last season.
Irving is the first high-profile player to sustain a concussion since the league applied its policy to determine when players return from head injuries.
After a player is diagnosed with a concussion, he must complete a series of steps to confirm he's healthy enough for competition. Once he's symptom-free, the player must make it through increasing stages of exertion — from a stationary bike, to jogging, to agility work, to non-contact team drills — while ensuring the symptoms don't return after each one.
During this process, the neurologist hired to lead the concussion program needs to be consulted before the player is cleared.
The NBA followed the NHL and Major League Baseball in instituting a concussion protocol.
Scott, who won three championships during 14 seasons as a player, believes the policy is needed — and perhaps overdue.
"I was asked the other day if I had a concussion and I don't know," he said. "I got hit back in the day so many times and had headaches and woke up and still went to practice. It wasn't a big deal then so being cautious about it is important and Kyrie understands right now.
"He wasn't real happy about it the other night, but we're doing this all in his best interests."