Celtics star Kyrie Irving speaks out for first time since injury shut down his season

BOSTON (WHDH) - Celtics star point guard Kyrie Irving spoke publicly Tuesday for the first time since being sidelined by a corrective operation on his left knee.

“A lot of what I wanted to accomplish with our team and individually as a leader with our guys kind of had to take a rest,” Irving said of watching his teammates advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. “I had to really be an outsider looking in from that standpoint.”

Irving provided updates on his recovery from knee surgery in April, just before the Celtics made their deep playoff run. He was averaging 24.4 points and 5.1 assists per game before his season ended prematurely.

“It’s a process,” he said. “I’m on the floor doing some running but I’m not on a treadmill or anything like that … It’s probably 15 weeks from now until the third week of September, not that I’m thinking about it or anything … I’m excited to utilize this season and dedicate myself to my craft and things around it.”

Without Irving, the Celtics showcased some of the best depth in the NBA, taking LeBron James and the Cavaliers to a seventh game in the conference finals.

“That’s what makes it even more exciting,” he said. “And the challenge is now we have that championship pedigree … they have that desire and that hunger to be great, I mean they went to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.”

The Celtics future is bright, but Irving’s connection to that future is somewhat blurred given that he’s in the final year of his contract.

“My attitude is really just redemption,” he said. “Really focused on winning a championship, that is all I’m really worried about, and until I get to that point, I can’t really answer any questions.”

Of course, the biggest question out there is whether Kyrie Irving would be open to a reunion with LeBron James here in Boston. James has been the subject of several rumors as he can opt out of his contract with Cleveland, and Boston is one of several teams he is rumored to be considering.

“In this business I’ve seen it all and experienced it all,” Irving said, “so we’ll see what management decides.”

(Copyright (c) 2020 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)