INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Both Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert might make their much-anticipated season debuts during the Cleveland Cavaliers' two-game road trip through Orlando and Boston, coach David Blatt said.
Then again, they might not.
While Blatt acknowledged for the first time all season that Friday's game against the Magic might be the night when Irving (fractured left kneecap) and Shumpert (injured right wrist) feel healthy enough to suit up, he hedged against a full-fledged announcement regarding their return.
"There's a chance that one or two or both will play on the trip, but there's also a chance they don't," Blatt said after Thursday's practice. "We'll see how they're feeling."
The services of the team's intended starting backcourt would be even more welcome considering the status of J.R. Smith, who is questionable for the Orlando game after missing Thursday's practice with an illness.
Smith will not accompany the team to Orlando; however he could fly on his own at a later time to join them and play if his condition improves.
After both Irving and Shumpert participated in their third full-contact practice with the Cavs in the past week, Blatt said the pair's playing status will largely depend on how their bodies respond to the workload going forward.
"It's a day-to-day thing with both of them," Blatt said. "We kind of like to let them get through the practice then, the next morning, gauge how they're feeling. And then just go from there. But they both will be on the trip with us."
Cleveland has started the season with an Eastern Conference-best 14-7 record, making the players' absence easier to handle. "We haven't rushed it with either one of them," Blatt said.
Whenever they do return, Blatt does not intend to ease them back in the lineup. He wants them to be ready to play their normal minutes.
"I'd like to see them be able to come and play significant minutes or at least minutes that give them the chance to feel the court long enough to contribute or get something out of it," Blatt said.