CLEVELAND – Kyrie Irving, the NBA's reigning rookie of the year, broke his right hand during the Cavaliers' practice on Saturday in Las Vegas.
Irving will return to Cleveland to be examined by team doctors Sunday and said he likely will undergo surgery. The Cavs said in a release Saturday night that they expect Irving, their leading scorer last season who recently dazzled during scrimmages against the U.S. Olympic team, to be ready for the start of training camp in late September. However, the team said it will not have a timeline for Irving's return until after he is examined.
The team said Irving injured his hand slapping the padding on a wall at the team's practice site. The injury occurred after Irving committed a turnover toward the end of the morning practice. Irving was in Las Vegas practicing with Cleveland's summer league team.
"It was just a freak accident," said Irving, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft.
Irving's injury is a tough blow for the 20-year-old, who recently wowed observers during workouts against the American team headed to the London Games. Irving also had made headlines by challenging Kobe Bryant to a game of 1-on-1 with the loser promising to pay $50,000 to the winner's charity — a video of Bryant and Irving engaging in trash talk has become a hit on the Internet.
"I am a little disappointed," Irving told reporters. "I have to be more responsible about my health. It was just crazy. It happened so fast."
Irving averaged 18.5 points, 5.4 assists and 3.7 assists last season and proved to be worthy of the top pick. He has given the Cavaliers and their fans reason to believe the franchise can return to prominence following the painful departure of LeBron James.
Irving missed 14 games last season with injuries. He sat out 10 games with a shoulder injury, three with a concussion and one when he was ill. Irving played in just 11 games as a freshman at Duke because of a serious foot injury.