Nets G Irving aggravates facial fracture in China


Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving aggravated his facial fracture during the opening minutes of his preseason debut against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday in Shanghai, China.

The six-time All-Star played only 66 seconds in the Nets’ 114-111 victory.

Irving wore a mask to protect the left side of his face, but he bumped into Lakers guard Rajon Rondo’s arm and appeared to wince in pain. He removed the mask, signaled to the bench for a substitution and did not return.

Irving, 27, sustained the injury last month when he accidentally was elbowed during a pickup game at the Nets’ facilities.

He is entering his first season with the Nets after signing a four-year, $136.5 million contract. The Nets are counting on him to lead the team until fellow free-agent signee Kevin Durant returns from surgery for a torn Achilles.

This is not the first facial injury for Irving.

He broke a bone in his jaw in 2012 when he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The injury occurred when he took a hard fall to the court during a game in Milwaukee.

Early in the 2017 season as a member of the Boston Celtics, he also sustained a broken facial bone when a teammate inadvertently elbowed him.

A two-time All-NBA selection, Irving averaged 23.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 6.9 assists in 67 games with the Boston Celtics last season.