The Cavaliers aren’t ready to set a date for his return, but injured point guard Kyrie Irving is making significant progress, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. Irving hasn’t played since fracturing his left kneecap in the NBA Finals, but the team is encouraged with his rehab work. “He has advanced to running plays 5-on-0. He’s doing some light 1-on-1 contact drills. He’s certainly taking some steps forward,” coach David Blatt said Saturday. “Again, can I put a number on it in terms of days left until we see him back out there fully? I really can’t. I’m not trying to keep it from you. I just don’t know. But definitely seeing progress in the last few days and that’s encouraging.” A source told McMenamin that Irving won’t join the Cavs on their road trip next week, but he could be with the team when it travels to Orlando and Boston starting December 10th.
There’s more this morning out of Cleveland:
- In his second season as coach, Blatt is now comfortable enough to take a public swipe — even if it’s humorous — at LeBron James, writes Jason Lloyd of The Akron Beacon Journal. Angered by an errant pass, James subbed out of Saturday’s game and walked to the bench while play continued. The Cavs were called for a technical foul for having just four players on the court. “He was frustrated, knew we weren’t playing right and thought we were playing hockey. Hockey sub,” Blatt said afterward. “I understand his frustration but obviously you shouldn’t do that.”
- The Cavaliers don’t seem concerned about allegations that J.R. Smith choked a man in New York last week, Lloyd writes in the same story. Smith is denying the charge and explained his version of the incident to the team. “Things aren’t being reported the right way,” he said.
- Injuries are getting in the way of the plan to reduce James’ regular-season workload, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Starters Timofey Mozgov and Mo Williams are both currently sidelined, joining Irving and Iman Shumpert, who haven’t played yet this season. As a result, James is averaging 36.5 minutes per game, up slightly from last year. “We definitely don’t want to keep putting ourselves in this position but one thing you can’t control is injuries,” James said.