CHICAGO — Kyrie Irving missed a game for the first time since joining the Nets when he was ruled out of their meeting with the Bulls on Saturday night at United Center. Irving suffered a right shoulder impingement Tuesday in Utah and tried to play through it with limited results Thursday in Denver.
Coach Kenny Atkinson called Irving’s status “day-to- day” and offered no timetable for when he might return and no information on the severity of the injury. “He took a pretty good shot in the Utah game,” Atkinson said. “I think he’s played through some pain, obviously, and we just felt it was best that he doesn’t play today to take care of it, get it healthy for when we get home. I think he gutted it out against Denver, quite honestly.”
After getting hurt against Utah, Irving suffered through a 2-for-11 shooting slump in the fourth quarter of that game. Against Denver, he was 2-for-7 in the fourth period. The Nets blew double-digit leads in both games.
“Like I said, he played through it, and the returns obviously this morning weren’t great,’’ Atkinson said. “So I think it’s a smart thing, a prudent thing to do. We’ll see going forward what it looks like.”
After wrapping up their season-high five-game road trip in Chicago, the Nets will face the Pacers on Monday night at Barclays Center to open a three-game homestand. Atkinson said it’s uncertain whether Irving, who leads the Nets with 28.5 points and 7.2 assists per game, will play then.
Atkinson called on Spencer Dinwiddie to start at point guard and Garrett Temple at two-guard in place of injured Caris LeVert (right thumb surgery). He used Theo Pinson off the bench at point guard and worked in Iman Shumpert, who was just signed Monday as a free agent. The latter played 11 minutes Saturday and scored five points.
“Shump’s going to play,” Atkinson said of a player he once coached with the Knicks. “We’ve got to figure out his minutes, but we need the minutes tonight . . . There are times, especially when you’re shorthanded, that you’ve got to put a guy out there and trust his experience and what he brings to the table. It’s not going to be perfect.”