NBA: Injured Irving back in workouts with Cavaliers

CLEVELAND – Injured Cleveland Cavaliers all-star guard Kyrie Irving went back to practicing with the team Thursday, a sign that he is closer to returning from the broken left kneecap he suffered in last season’s NBA Finals.

He had been working out in recent weeks individually and in small groups.

”It has been a great week so far,” Irving said. ”The biggest thing for me has been getting over the mental hump and being able to compete, practice with the guys, hit guys and have guys hit me. As a competitor I’ve been itching for that.”

Irving would not give any hints as to when he might suit up again for the Cavaliers, although speculation has him aiming for a Christmas return against Golden State, the same team against which he suffered the injury in June.

”We have a little ways to go before I get back on the court with the guys,” Irving said.

”Just taking it as it goes. You are not getting anything out of me. No percentages. No target dates. I’m in a great place.”

Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert, back from a wrist injury, also practiced for the Cavaliers.

”Every day I’m watching them making progress and we’re being very cautious and conscientious about keeping them within their limits and not rushing them back,” Cavaliers coach David Blatt said.

”They are both working hard and well and they are making progress. Exactly when they’re going to return I just can’t say because I don’t know. Not yet.”

Australian-born US standout Irving averaged 21.7 points, 5.2 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots a game for the Cavaliers last season. (AFP)