Irving said Saturday he opted for a cortisone shot last month instead of getting arthroscopic surgery, with the goal of playing at some point this season. He said his shoulder issue began with overuse near the end of training camp and got worse over the course of his first 11 appearances this season.
He said surgery would keep him off the court for a couple of months at least but he would prefer to keep working at trying to return to salvage his first season with the Nets.
“I want to go out and play so just continue to rehab and live the results of me going out there and giving it an actual shot, going out there, being with the guys, seeing where we can land and then move forward after the season,” Irving said.
Irving was averaging 28.5 points and 7.2 assists before he was benched with the injury. He played through the pain, including putting up 50 points in his Nets debut against the Minnesota Timberwolves. However, the pain eventually got so bad for Irving that he said he could barely lift his shoulder.
“It really is disheartening when you’re working your tail off to be a certain level and then your shooting shoulder just starts to give out on you a little bit,” Irving said.
Irving said being injured will always be a mental strain, but he said he was in a better place after receiving the cortisone shot.
“This is something I’ve spent the majority of my life working to do at a very high level and I want to do it at the best level I can, which is greatness,” Irving said. “And when you’re injured and especially when your team needs you, yeah, of course you go home and you’re like, ‘Why am I not playing yet? When is this going to turn? Where is the corner when I’m going to be turn and be well enough health-wise to go out there and play at a high level?’”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.