PHILADELPHIA — Kyrie Irving’s homecoming season with the Nets is over, practically before it started.
The New Jersey-bred star is expected to opt for surgery on his right shoulder impingement, The Post confirmed. The procedure, which carries an expected recovery timetable of 2-3 months, effectively ends Irving’s first season in Brooklyn after just 20 appearances.
The decision was first reported by The Athletic.
Irving missed 26 games earlier this season due to the shoulder impingement. He first suffered the injury on Nov. 4, and played through pain until going on the shelf 10 days later. The Post had reported on Dec. 4 that a procedure could be needed, and Irving eventually acknowledged as much exactly a month later.
“I think there’s more to this story. It wouldn’t surprise me if he needs [a procedure] down the road,” a source had told The Post at the time.
After seeing a specialist in Arizona, Irving was presented with the choice of having arthroscopic surgery on the shoulder or getting short-term relief from a cortisone shot. He grudgingly opted to kick the can down the road with the shot, but it has since worn off.
“The next progression was get a cortisone shot or you get arthroscopic surgery,” Irving said on Jan. 4. “The cortisone shot lasts as long as it can. You either continue to get cortisone shots, which is obviously detrimental to your health in your muscles, or you go get arthroscopic surgery.
“It’s just about being able to go back out there after the right amount of rehab, the right amount of rest, recovery, and see what we can do for the rest of the season and then reevaluate after a few months.”
Now what had been a fait accompli has become official. After seeing another specialist this week — not the same one he saw in Arizona in December — Irving has elected to have the surgery.
“Of course somebody who is such a great person, obviously the person you go out with every day, you worry about him when it comes to surgery talk and things of that sort,” Taurean Prince said.
“But Ky is one of the most positive people I’ve ever been around this whole process of me knowing him, meeting him since he signed, I’m sure it’s just another testament to his book. It’s time for other guys to step up and be the players that they feel they want to be along with trying to help us win as many games as possible down the stretch.”
Irving joined up with longtime friends Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan in picking Brooklyn last summer in free agency. Durant, already recovering from Achilles surgery in June, told Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks he won’t be playing at all this season.
“Long-term-wise, we want everybody on this team to be healthy, from 1 to 15,” Jordan said. “As you get older and understand your body more, understand how precious things are, you want to have different people to (consult). You don’t just want to have one way to go.
“It’s a smart thing, because both people could agree, they could disagree. You compare and see what happens. It’s all taking care of your body and your business. … As far as what Kyrie’s thinking, I don’t (know). He’s a friend of mine, but I don’t have (telepathic powers). We want him healthy. Whatever goes on and is decided, we’re going to support him.”
With Irving sidelined, the Nets will continue to go with a starting backcourt of Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert. The Nets went 4-1 in five games going into the All-Star break with LeVert moving into the starting lineup in place of Irving, who was nursing a knee injury.
The Nets open the proverbial second half of the season Thursday night in Philadelphia, and knew they’d have to do it without their star guard.
“For sure, you always feel for your brother, stuff like that floating around,” LeVert said.