BOSTON – The “minimally invasive” procedure Kyrie Irving had last week is expected to ease some of the lingering discomfort the five-time All-Star has been experiencing.

But there may be a need for an additional procedure performed in the coming years as well, Danny Ainge said Thursday. 

“We tried to do a minimal amount of surgery at this moment,” Ainge, the Celtics president of basketball operations, said on his weekly call-in to 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show. “And it might require some more. We don’t know any of that. I don’t know.”

The one thing Ainge feels confident about is Irving’s left knee not being an issue that will significantly impact the 26-year-old guard’s career going forward.

“When I say it shouldn’t affect his career, I’m saying his knee is very structurally sound,” Ainge said. “It isn’t like a long-term thing. There could still be some challenges.”

Ainge added that discussions about doing some type of surgical procedure on Irving's left knee didn’t begin until this month.

“There wasn’t really any conversations,” said Ainge, who added that the Celtics were well aware of Irving’s knee-related issues prior to trading for him from Cleveland. “We knew all this stuff about him. And that it [a surgical procedure] might happen at some point.”

Which begs the question, why not take care of it earlier in the season?

By having the surgery this month, the best-case scenario (read: fastest return) for Irving to begin doing basketball-related activities would be at the very start of Boston’s first-round series.


“Doing it sooner, there was no reason to,” Ainge said. “He wasn’t experiencing any discomfort. Over the last year, he played over 100 games including the playoffs. This year, he had the same type of soreness periodically but nothing that would prevent him from playing. So there was no reason to have that discussion until after games in March started. It lingered longer than it had before.”

Ainge said the pain Irving was feeling had not increased, but “it was more persistent.”

He added, “usually a day off and he would be back at it again but this one lingered longer. So that’s why we decided to go in and do it collectively.”

Irving appeared in 60 games for the Celtics, averaging 24.4 points, 5.1 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game.