Kyrie Irving: 'freak play,' not existing knee issues, caused broken kneecap

CLEVELAND -- Back at Quicken Loans Arena for the first time since undergoing season-ending surgery on his left kneecap last week, Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving elaborated on what he described as a "freak play" that caused the injury in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

"I think I drove right. I tried to stop on a dime," Irving began Wednesday, speaking to reporters the day before the Cavaliers will host the Golden State Warriors in Game 4. "I've done it a thousand times, and I think Klay [Thompson] ... I tried to get out of it with my knee. I tried to stop myself, and all my force went on my knee, and I believe Klay hit it, and it hit it in the right spot at the right time and fractured my kneecap."

Irving, who had been playing through persistent tendinitis in his left knee, suffered the injury in the 44th minute he was on the court, midway through the overtime period in the Cavs' eventual 108-100 loss. He claims that his knee was cleared heading into the Finals and the heavy minutes he played were negligible.

"My knee in terms of the stability was great," Irving said. "Obviously there was a risk going out there playing anyway, no matter what. But in terms of everything that was inside of my knee stability-wise, everything was fine.

"I trusted my trainers. I trusted my body. It was just a freak play. I felt good throughout the whole entire game. It wasn't about the minutes or anything like that that everyone wants to kind of speculate about, our training staff. It was me who decided to go out and play. Put my body on the line.

"It happened in overtime," he said. "It could have happened in any given moment in the game. But in terms of me going out there, I felt great. That's probably the thing that hurts the most, is how great I felt going into that game, and then one freak moment how it could all kind of end for three to four months.

"I mean, I wouldn't do it any different -- like I said on my Instagram post or on Twitter, I don't have any regrets for the decision I made. I trust our organization, and I trust our training staff to the full extent."

Irving approached the dais where his news conference was held on crutches and wearing a T-shirt that said, "Killa & Champ & Menace & Drew," referring to the nicknames the team has for Mike Miller, James Jones, Kevin Love and himself.

Even though his surgery had kept Irving away from the team for nearly a week, he said he kept in touch with teammates through FaceTime, and even used the app to communicate with Iman Shumpert in the middle of Game 3 when the Cavs guard went to the locker room with a shoulder injury.

"I want them to stay focused," Irving said. "For me I'm as crazy as trying to FaceTime Iman Shumpert as he goes into the locker room for his shoulder just so I can give him a five-minute pep talk about how much we need him. Just things like that I sit back and now I'm just admiring all these guys, whether they're playing hurt or anything like that.

"Everything that we've had to endure all season, all the goals that we set, now they have to go out and accomplish it. Now I'm just sitting back as a fan and enjoying it."

All Irving can do is watch now, with the Cavs two wins away from the first championship in franchise history.

"I'm there for them no matter what, I'm going to be riding with them no matter what," Irving said. "But it's definitely tough right now to comprehend."