CLEVELAND — Cavaliers All-Star guard Kyrie Irving apologized for skipping a postgame ceremony for fans following Cleveland’s final home game on Monday against Miami.
Irving was stripped of the ball by Norris Cole in the closing seconds of the 96-95 loss to the Heat, who rested LeBron James and most of their stars. Irving immediately ran off the floor and to the locker room instead of participating in a jersey giveaway on “Fan Appreciation Night.” All the Cavs players handed out their game-worn jerseys and sneakers.
Irving, the league’s reigning Rookie of the Year, posted an apology on his Twitter account for missing the event.
“I want to personally apologize to all the Cavs fans for my actions yesterday,” Irving wrote. “It was truly unfair to you guys. I’m very appreciative for all of you guys. Your love and passion for the organization and city is what pushes me to be great.”
The Cavs initially said Irving ran to the locker room to have an injured heel examined by trainers. However, Irving seemed upset that reporters had been told he was hurt and the 21-year-old had an awkward exchange with a club official.
“That’s what I have?” Irving said. “Oh, when was someone going to tell me that? I’m hurt again? Damn. How long am I going to be out, 4 to 6 weeks?”
Irving has been susceptible to injuries in his first two seasons as a pro. He missed games this season with a broken finger and sprained shoulder. He also was sidelined most of last summer after he broke his hand punching a padded wall during a practice.
Irving had 16 points and eight assists in Cleveland’s fifth straight loss. On Sunday, he scored a career-low four points and was benched in the fourth quarter along with the Cavs other starters by embattled coach Byron Scott, who may not be back next season.
The Cavs (24-57) will wrap up their third straight losing season under Scott on Wednesday in Charlotte. Following Monday’s game, Scott said he expected to be back next season.
“I am going to be back to coach them next year,” said Scott, who was then asked if he had been told he will return. “I’ve got a year left on my contract, that’s how I figure it, unless I’m told differently. But that’s how I approach it.”