Masked Kyrie is back.
Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving will wear a protective mask in tonight's game against the Brooklyn Nets, after suffering a facial fracture during Friday night's win over the Charlotte Hornets. Kyrie has worn a protective mask before in his NBA career and although he hates wearing it, he's fully aware of the "Masked Kyrie" persona that fans seem to love.
Kyrie took an elbow to the face from teammate Aron Baynes in the first quarter of Friday's game against Charlotte, but the Cs came out with a win anyway. Irving sat out Sunday's game against Toronto due to the injury but Boston prevailed once again, notching their 12th straight victory.
Tonight, Kyrie will return to the lineup equipped with a protective mask.
At the Celtics' shoot around today, Kyrie said (H/T ESPN), "I hate wearing it, but somehow it's caused a craze on Instagram as well as social media. It's 'masked man.' But I understand that it's just for my safety, so throw on the mask for a few weeks and go about my business."
Before he was fitted for the mask, his daughter accidentally hit him in the exact spot where Baynes popped him with an elbow.
"My daughter hit me in my face the other day and, that right there, I almost teared up," Irving said, per ESPN. "I did my absolute best not to cry in front of her. I was like, 'Oh my goodness, baby.' She hit me right on that spot. Like, literally right after. I came home and I was trying to put her to bed and she hit me right on that spot by mistake."
Kyrie will likely have to wear the mask for two weeks while his face heals. During his second season in the NBA, he donned a black mask at Madison Square Garden after breaking a bone in his jaw and posted a career-high [at the time] with 41 points.
After losing the first two games of the season, including the opener in Cleveland, the Celtics have won an NBA-best 12 straight games, putting them at 12-2 on the season.
Tonight they'll take on a 5-8 Brooklyn Nets team that was already playing without point guard Jeremy Lin, and will now be without D'Angelo Russell, who is expected to miss several games with a knee injury.