CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Arthroscopic shoulder surgery will sideline the Nets’ Kyrie Irving for the rest of this season. But he should be fine in time for next season as long as there is no rotator cuff damage.
Asked about the possibility of rotator cuff damage, Nets general manager Sean Marks wouldn’t answer.
“I’m not going to get into details now, because he’s still evaluating what his options may be over the next couple of days,” Marks said. “But in terms of he is having surgery, and he will be out for the remainder of the season.”
The NBA’s 2020-21 season starts in October, with training camp a month earlier and players taking part in informal workouts in August. Dr. Stephen Hunt of Tri-County Orthopedics in Morristown, N.J., told The Post that Irving should be on schedule if there’s no cartilage damage.
“Arthroscopic shoulder surgery is pretty minimally invasive in terms of skin incisions. But there’s a lot of variability in terms of what is done inside the shoulder,” Hunt, who is a consultant with the Jets and has worked with the Mets, told The Post. “I have no idea what’s going on [inside]. Most impingement issues tend to have good resolution with a less invasive approach like that.
“There are other issues in terms of rotator cuff, things like that, that can add time to recovery. … But I’d say certainly by six months from now I’d think in most situations people would be fairly recovered. Obviously he’s a high-level athlete, that’s his shooting arm, so that may take a little longer. It depends what they did at the time of the procedure.”
Impingements sometimes are dealt with by shaving down the underside of the acromion bone (called an acromioplasty) to reducing pressure on the rotator cuff and bursa. Marks wouldn’t clear up whether Irving had or will have that sort of decompression surgery.
“Again, I’m not going to get into the details. That’s far above my pay grade, and that will be up to the specialists to determine when they get in there,” Marks said. “But I think it’s a relatively straightforward procedure and once they get in there they will figure it all out.
“This is something that he should be back in plenty of time to be working out this summer and obviously be ready for next season.”
Irving first injured the shoulder Nov. 4 against the Pelicans. He kept playing for 10 more days, through a game Nov. 14 at Denver. He then missed 26 straight games.
On Dec. 4, The Post reported surgery could be an option, and Irving admitted as much exactly a month later. Now that scenario has come to pass, with his season ending after just 20 games.
“Obviously, we feel bad for [Irving],” Nets teammate Caris LeVert said. “He wants to be out here with us. That’s first and foremost. He definitely worked extremely hard to come back. It’s just a series of unfortunate things that happened with him.”
Irving and health misfortune seem to go hand-in-hand.
Once this season ends, he will have missed 194 regular-season games in his nine-year NBA career. He also missed 26 of 37 games in his only collegiate campaign at Duke. It raises the question of whether the surgery will solve the problem long-term, or if there will be a reoccurrence.
“I’m not going to speculate on long-term [or] short-term, especially when it comes to surgery and things like that,” Marks said. “More details are given once he’s had the surgery and then we’ll go from there.”
Once the surgery is complete — and the extent of the repairs known to a certainty — it will be easier to rule out the problem cropping up again.
“He’s in the hands of really great staff and it’d be safe to make the assumption that impingement issues would be solved by that kind of procedure — assuming no hiccups in recovery or rare complications,” Dr. Hunt told The Post. “You could make the logical assumption that impingement issues would be improved and not likely to reoccur. Other issues like cartilage issues could reoccur, but impingement, yes.”