6/19/21, 7:33 PM
Bottom Line: Expect Kyrie to return in the early part (~Game 2-3) of the Eastern Conference Finals, if the Nets make it that far. He should be able to perform at his prior levels, but will have a 40% increased chance of re-injury for his ankle.
Kyrie sprained his ankle after landing on Giannis’s foot in Game 4, and has missed Games 5 and 6 as a result. He’s already been ruled out in advance of an obviously critical Game 7, which suggests that he’s not all that close to making his return.
However, the injury is one that likely won’t sideline him for the entirety of the postseason. Kyrie had negative X-rays and was initially able to bear weight on the ankle, which together suggest that his injury was on the milder end of the spectrum.
Ankle sprains in the NBA are relatively common, and most actually don’t result in any missed games at all. NBA data tells us that amongst those that do require players to sit out, only 25% miss more than 4 games.
Taking all of this together, our expectation is that Kyrie will test out his ankle in pre-game warmups around approximately Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, if the Nets can survive their series against the Bucks. His short-term performance when he does come back should be about the same as prior. See Donovan Mitchell’s recent injury and performance for comparison. Unfortunately, he will have a 40% increased risk of re-injuring that ankle over the next year, so he’ll have to be a little more careful than the normal NBA player.
Image Source: Erik Drost, CC-BY-2.0