Kyrie Irving missed Wednesday’s game against San Antonio with a facial contusion, but the injury isn’t expected to be serious and the Nets are hopeful of having the All-Star point guard back by the weekend.
“Kyrie’s scans were clear fortunately,” coach Steve Nash said. “No concussion, nothing on the scans. Just precautionary. Not gonna go [vs. the Spurs].”
Irving suffered the injury taking an elbow to the face from Nikola Vucevic during the third quarter of Tuesday’s victory in Chicago. He’s expected to be fit for this weekend’s back-to-back against the Bulls and Cavaliers, potentially letting him get some much-needed time on court with Kevin Durant and James Harden.
“He’s cleared to play,” Nash said. “So it’s a matter of how comfortable he is playing, and if they get that time together it would be great. If they don’t, they don’t.”
The Big 3 haven’t gotten much time together — just 186 minutes together over seven games all season. They haven’t gotten any time together at all since a Feb. 13 victory at Golden State.
Mike James got the start Wednesday in lieu of Irving.
Joe Harris (left hip soreness) also missed Wednesday’s game. He’d been playing through the injury, and the Nets finally opted to sit him down.
“Joe, he got hit a few games ago, and it’s kind of deteriorated a little bit,” Nash said. “Nothing long term. Nothing that should hold him out longer. But going to rest [vs. San Antonio] and try to get on top of that.”
Durant and Blake Griffin were available Wednesday despite having played Tuesday in Chicago and the Nets trying to protect them from back-to-backs.
“Kevin wants to play and get his rhythm and continue to get back to his best, and then just feel comfortable heading into the playoffs,” Nash said. “So you’re trying to find that balance between where the risk is, but also where they feel most confident for the playoffs.
“So, it’s one of those things where I take a leap of faith in what would make them feel best and make them feel in rhythm and confident prepared and then at the same time, not risking anything.”
James, Durant, Griffin, Bruce Brown and Landry Shamet made up Brooklyn’s team record 36th different starting lineup of the season. James is the 19th Net to start this season, another franchise record.
With James’ second and final 10-day deal about to expire, the Nets are believed to be leaning toward converting his contract so he can play in the playoffs.
“I can’t confirm anything. The front office will sit with him [Wednesday night] or [Thursday]. But we’ve been really happy with Mike, so I’d imagine he’s going to be with us,” Nash said. “I can’t confirm anything at this point and those decisions will be made either [Wednesday] night or [Thursday]. But like I said, we’ve been really happy with Mike and what he’s brought to the team.”