Mavericks Kyrie Irving Returns, Scores 14 After 12-Game Absence

Irving Returns, Balances Nerves with Performance.

by Nouman Rasool
Mavericks Kyrie Irving Returns, Scores 14 After 12-Game Absence
© Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

In a night of mixed emotions for the Dallas Mavericks, star guard Kyrie Irving marked his return to the court after a 12-game hiatus, scoring 14 points against the Utah Jazz. Despite Irving's efforts, the Mavericks faced a challenging night, succumbing to a 127-90 defeat on Monday.

Irving's Comeback Game

Irving sidelined since December 8 due to a right heel contusion sustained against the Portland Trail Blazers, played 32 minutes in his comeback game. Alongside his scoring, he contributed 9 rebounds and 4 assists, with a shooting performance of 6-of-14 from the field.

The game marked a significant moment for Irving, who expressed a blend of nerves and relief. "It's my first time in my career I've had this type of injury," Irving remarked, acknowledging the severity of his condition. "There was no structural damage, but the injury's significance hit home when you struggle to get your other shoe on." Ahead of the game, Mavericks' coach Jason Kidd stated in Salt Lake City that Irving would have no minutes restriction.

This decision came as the Mavericks navigated a balanced performance during Irving's absence, maintaining a 6-6 record. Luka Dončić, the team's perennial All-Star guard, stepped up significantly during this period, averaging 38.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 10.5 assists over 39.4 minutes per game, although he sat out two of the losses due to concerns about his workload and left quadriceps soreness.

Irving's season averages stand impressive with 23.0 points and 5.2 assists over 17 games. The Mavericks had a 10-7 record with Irving in the lineup before the loss to the Jazz. His performance and availability are critical for the team, especially considering his three-year, $120 million contract, which includes incentives based on the number of games played and the team's overall success.

As the Mavericks look ahead, the integration of Irving back into their lineup is a crucial factor in their quest for success this season. His ability to recover fully and contribute at his highest level will be pivotal for the team's aspirations, especially in a fiercely competitive Western Conference.

Mavericks Kyrie Irving