Created on Saturday, 16 November 2013 Written by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
CLEVELAND (AP) — Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving will wear a mask when he plays after being elbowed in the face Wednesday night.
The team said Irving doesn't have a broken nose and called the injury a "minimally displaced right nasal fracture." The All-Star has a bruise under his right eye and will wear the mask for an undetermined period of time.
"I think it's probably going to be two weeks, but however long they think it's necessary, I'm going to wear it," Irving said before Friday's game against Charlotte. "I'm blessed enough that I can still go out and play."
Irving was elbowed by Minnesota's Corey Brewer in the first quarter Wednesday night. He was taken for X-rays, which came back negative, and returned in the second quarter. The team said further examination at Cleveland Clinic on Thursday and Friday revealed the fracture.
Irving, who is averaging 19.4 points and 6.9 assists, fractured a bone in his jaw last season but was fitted with a mask and continued to play. He scored a career-high 41 points against New York in his first game wearing the mask.
Irving was able to find some humor in the situation.
"It hurt pretty bad, but the only thing I was worried about was my appearance," he said.
Irving has missed 38 games in his career with shoulder, knee and hand injuries, and a concussion.
Cavaliers coach Mike Brown expects center Andrew Bynum to return to the team for Saturday night's game in Washington. Bynum was excused to address a family medical matter earlier this week. The 7-footer missed Wednesday's game in Minnesota.
Bynum, who is working his way back from surgery on both knees, is averaging 6.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in six games. The 7-footer started his first game of the season Monday in Chicago. Brown said Friday he plans on starting Bynum when he returns.