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Kyrie Irving dealing with soreness in surgically repaired left knee

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In the third quarter of the Cavs’ loss to the Hawks, Irving went back to the locker room to have his knee examined.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

During the third quarter of last night’s game against the Hawks, Kyrie Irving briefly left the Cavaliers’ bench and headed back to the Cavs’ locker room. On the bench, he could be seen getting his left knee attended to by the Cavs’ medical staff. When he went back to the locker room, the medical team and Cavs GM David Griffin went back with Irving as well.

Irving, though, did return. But that doesn’t mean all is right with his left knee - the same one that required surgery after he injured it during Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals. According to Irving, Thursday’s off day “a terrible day for me and my knee,” per cleveland.com.

"It just, I don't want it to feel sore anymore but it's just the realization of it," Irving said per cleveland.com. "I'm doing everything possible to take care of my body, I've got a clear conscience with that. But also understand that sometimes it's gonna hurt. And I gotta be able to deal with it.”

When Cavs coach Tyronn Lue was asked about Irving’s knee and if he would reconsider his plan to not rest Irving (or LeBron James) until the Cavs officially lock up the No. 1 seed, he was noncommittal.

"I don't know," Lue said during his post game press conference. I know 'Bron wanted this one pretty bad and he didn't want to come out of the game. He said, 'This is big, we need this one.' I don't know if guys were tired. I just know we didn't respect those guys."

Irving’s knee now becomes something to watch as the regular wraps up and the playoffs start. Irving’s ability as a creator and a score are essentially to the Cavs’ title chances and they’ll need him at his if they are to repeat.

And it may be worth it just to rest him now regardless of the seeding. There’s not much upside to him playing games if it makes his knee worse or puts him at risk of injury. And at worst, it Irving’s knee adds another layer of drama to the Cavs’ season.