INDEPENDENCE — Kyrie Irving made it through Sunday’s morning practice without incident and is expected to play tonight when the Cleveland Cavaliers host the New York Knicks.
“Based on what I saw in practice, there’s a good chance he’ll play,” Cavs coach Byron Scott said. “We’ll see how he feels after really going up and down and going a full scrimmage, and obviously that will determine whether he’s good to go or not. But from what I saw, he’s good.”
Irving has missed 14 games this season, including three with a hyperextended right knee that he injured when he banged knees with Omri Casspi in practice. The Cavs shut Irving down and the six days off seems to have helped.
“It was something I think he needed,” Scott said. “Obviously he could have probably continued to play. It just depends on his threshold of pain, because it was going to be painful. But we just didn’t see a reason why. We tried to let him have as much time as he needed to get that thing completely healed so it’s not something that continues to flare up during the rest of the season. I thought it was good he took those days off and got the treatment that he was getting and did all the things he was supposed to do.”
Irving scored a career-high 41 points the last time the Cavs faced the Knicks in mid-December at Madison Square Garden. It was Irving’s first game after fracturing a bone in his jaw, and he played the game in a black mask that teammates teased made him look like Batman.
The Cavs lost that game to the Knicks, but have beaten them 10 consecutive times at home. The Knicks’ last victory at Quicken Loans Arena was Nov. 29, 2006.
The Cavs released Josh Selby, whom they acquired in the deal with the Memphis Grizzlies that also brought Mo Speights and Wayne Ellington to Cleveland. Selby was immediately assigned to the Canton Charge and never appeared in a game for the Cavs.
He averaged 15.3 points and 4.2 assists in 11 games (eight starts) with the Charge.
The Cavs now have an open roster spot, but are expected to use it as a tryout for guys on 10-day contracts. It won’t be used on Greg Oden, who is leaning toward waiting until the summer before signing with an NBA team.
Damian Lillard continues to have a stranglehold on the Rookie of the Year race, but Dion Waiters broke through a little bit when he won the Eastern Conference’s Rookie of the Month award for February.
Lillard won it again in the Western Conference and has won the honor every month for the Portland Trail Blazers. Waiters averaged 15.8 points and shot .514 in February.
“It’s great for our team and the work we’ve put in,” Waiters said. “We’ve been winning. … My team is doing a pretty good job of helping me out setting screens, rebounding, doing everything as a group, finding me.”
Tyler Zeller missed practice Sunday because he was sick. He will be re-evaluated at this morning’s shoot-around before a decision is made on his availability for the Knicks.