Media playback is not supported on this device Irving ‘symptom of a larger problem’ – Atkinson
Nets owner Joseph Tsai says Kyrie Irving is “not ready” to return to the court after having his second “minor procedure” on his knee in eight months.
Irving, 25, has been given an extra week to respond to an epidural injection for the inflammation.
Tsai said: “We’ve been so pleased with his progress so far but I just wanted to take some extra time.
“He wants to get back on the court but obviously we’ve got to err on the side of caution.”
Irving had surgery on his left knee in March, around the same time he was ruled out of Boston Celtics’ opening game of the NBA play-offs with a knee issue.
As a result, the All-Star guard who has won two Olympic gold medals for the United States is ineligible to play for the host nation at the 2018 Rio Olympics.
New York-based Tsai, who bought the Nets in February, wants Irving to be back on the court in time for next season.
“The Celtics have something in the air. They have a chance [to make the NBA play-offs] and that’s great. But we’re also looking for Kyrie to get back and show the Nets what he can do next year,” he added.
Tsai also said Irving was being used as a “symptom of a larger problem” in the NBA when he played with bulging discs in his back and was a “soft target”.
He was among several players who were criticised last season over injuries that included swelling in his back and neck after he had an epidural shot during the 2015-16 season.
Irving is averaging 25.8 points, 3.6 assists and 4.7 rebounds in the current NBA play-offs, despite the Nets entering the play-offs with the league’s worst record.