Kyrie Irving saw the floor for a grand total of 16 minutes Sunday night in the Boston Celtics' 99-97 loss to the Indiana Pacers at TD Garden before exiting, as his left knee once again caused him discomfort.
Rather than continue playing through the pain in hopes it will go away on its own, Irving sounds like he could take some time off to deal with the issue.
"I think (rest) will probably be the best thing, just instead of kind of hoping it gets better over the two or three days that it usually does," Irving said postgame, according to ESPN's Chris Forsberg. "It's aching a little bit more than I wanted it to now, so I'm taking the necessary time."
The All-Star point guard said his knee began flaring up March 3 during Boston's three-point loss to the Houston Rockets. He then sat out last Monday's matchup with the Chicago Bulls because of the injury, with the Celtics prevailing by 16 points on the road in his absence. Irving returned three nights later to play 29 minutes against the Minnesota Timberwolves, scoring 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting.
Home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference bracket of the NBA playoffs is still in play, but even if Boston (46-21) falls short, the No. 2 seed is likely the worst-case scenario given the team's seven-game cushion over the Indiana Pacers (39-28).
"I'm not concerned. Where we are in the season, I'm pretty comfortable," Irving said. "I think that, competitively, I think that's more or less what I'm concerned about. When I actually do get back on the floor, I want to feel the level I expect myself to be at and I want to play at and being able to sustain it. Right now, I'm not able to do that."
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens won't hesitate to rest Irving for a stretch of games.
"If he doesn't feel 100 percent, then we need to have him sit, and so I think that that is something that we've all talked about, and (that's) why he didn't come back in (against Indiana)," he said.
Irving is averaging 24.4 points, 5.1 assists, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.1 steals on 49.1 percent shooting in 60 appearances during his first year with the franchise.