CHARLOTTE — New Orleans Pelicans center Anthony Davis corrected questions presuming his absence from Sunday’s All-Star Game.
Davis, who was sidelined by a shoulder contusion this week, said he might do a little bit of coaching but plans to be in uniform and play Sunday for Team LeBron.
Davis isn’t the only injured player declaring himself ready for the spotlight game at Spectrum Center.The sprained right knee that has sidelined Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving for the last week hasn’t kept him from enjoying his time in Charlotte, N.C., for All-Star weekend.
And it appears it won’t keep him from playing in Sunday’s main event.In announcing his intention to play in the game, Irving said he wouldn’t if he had any doubts about his rehab.
“There’s not too many chances you get to be around Kawhi Leonard, being around KD (Kevin Durant) and have a starting lineup like we do. That was on my mind, but it didn’t factor going in to taking care of my health and making sure I’m good to play,” Irving said.
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge said recently that Irving is close to returning for the Celtics and that if the star guard deems himself well enough to play on Sunday, then Ainge doesn’t have a problem with it.
“I totally trust Kyrie that he will not play if he’s not healthy,” Ainge told reporters. “I have all the trust in him in his decisions on that. Like, he would only do it if he’s 100 percent healthy.”
There is a chance the Team LeBron pair could join up again in the future.Davis clarified Saturday that the Celtics are on his list of preferred destinations. Multiple reports indicated there was a short list of teams to which Davis would accept a trade. Davis said Saturday there are “29” teams on his list — every team but the Pelicans.
“I never said they weren’t on my list,” Davis said of accepting a trade to the Celtics. “I never said they weren’t on my list.”How much either will play Sunday is still being determined.
Ainge also noted that the Celtics sent a physical therapist and trainer with Irving to Charlotte.”Honestly, I don’t really have any preference at all for what he does,” Ainge said. “I understand how he could actually benefit from having a really good workout.”
Irving was playing defense vs. the Los Angeles Clippers when the injury occurred with about five minutes remaining in the first half last Saturday. He left the game with 2:28 to play in the second quarter and Boston holding a comfortable 20-point lead. The Clippers rallied for a 123-112 victory, outscoring the Celtics 75-44 after Irving departed.
The veteran guard had an MRI last Sunday and it was determined that the injury was not considered serious. The Celtics next take the court Thursday at Milwaukee.
Irving, 26, is averaging 23.6 points, 6.9 assists and 4.9 rebounds in 47 games (all starts) this season. He was voted as an Eastern Conference starter for the All-Star game and selected by former teammate LeBron James during the draft process for the teams.
–By Jeff Reynolds, Field Level Media