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Kyrie Irving could return to Nets before All-Star break

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11). (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

The Nets aren’t ready to put Kyrie Irving on the shelf through the All-Star break just yet.

Brooklyn’s star point guard has been out for the past three games dealing with a medial ligament sprain in his right knee that prompted reevaluation in a week.

It limited his comeback from a shoulder impingement injury to just nine games after missing the previous 26.

While he is expected to miss Monday’s game against the Pacers, the door is still open on Irving’s return to the floor before the All-Star break on Wednesday against the Raptors, as first reported by The Athletic’s Alex Schiffer.

When he’s on the floor, Irving is undoubtedly Brooklyn’s best player. He’s averaging 27.4 points and 6.4 assists per game this season, but he’s only been out there for 20 outings in 2019-20.

That’s obviously not the kind of appearance rate Nets fans were hoping for when they signed Irving and Kevin Durant last summer.

A bigger issue is the Nets’ results don’t seem to differ when Irving is on the floor — suggesting the roster has yet to jell given the 27-year-old’s constant absences.

The Nets are 8-12 this season when Irving plays. They’re 15-16 when he’s out.

Most of the credit of Brooklyn’s near-.500 play while Irving is out is owed to Spencer Dinwiddie, who has been playing at an All-Star caliber.

The 26-year-old is averaging a career-high 21 points per game, but has stepped it up when Irving is unavailable.

During Irving’s 26-game hiatus with that shoulder impingement, Dinwiddie averaged 24.8 points per game while the Nets went 13-13.

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