Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving will miss the rest of the regular season and the playoffs.
The team confirmed Thursday that Irving suffered a bacterial infection after undergoing a procedure in March to remove a tension wire from his left knee. The wire and screws had been placed in the knee after Irving fractured his left patella during the 2015 NBA Finals as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was initially expected to miss three to six weeks.
Saturday, the Celtics say Irving will have the screws removed. The team expects him to recover fully in four to five months.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report that Irving would sit for the remainder of the season.
The Celtics previously said the procedure to remove the wire would relieve irritation in Irving's patellar tendon, and that his knee was found to be structurally sound.
Irving, a five-time All-Star, was drafted first overall by the Cavs in 2011. Since the Celtics traded Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and two draft picks for him in the offseason, he has solidified himself as the team's new superstar, averaging 24.4 points, 5.1 assists, 1.1 steals and a career-best 3.8 rebounds per game. His .491 field goal percentage is also the best he has posted in the NBA.
Irving's absence on the court isn't the only loss felt by the Celtics this season. The team lost Gordon Hayward within minutes of the first game of the season. Center Daniel Theis is also out for the season, and reserve guard Marcus Smart also recently underwent a procedure. Starter Jaylen Brown also missed a few games due to concussion protocol.