CLEVELAND — Cavaliers All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving will miss his second straight Eastern Conference finals game with an injured left knee.
Irving, who has been dealing with tendinitis, was ruled out of Sunday's Game 3 about 45 minutes before tip-off. Wearing a new knee brace, Irving put himself through a rigorous workout on the Quicken Loans Arena floor about three hours before the game started. Although he moved well, the Cavs decided to rest him for at least one more game.
Cleveland leads the best-of-seven series 2-0.
Irving said he hurt his knee while trying to compensate for a sprained right foot he sustained in the opening round against Boston. Last week, he visited famed surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Florida. Andrews prescribed a change to Irving's treatment and he wore a brace for the first time in practice on Saturday.
Matthew Dellavedova will likely start in place of Irving, who has averaged 18.9 points and 3.5 assists in 11 playoff games.
The Cavs are already without forward Kevin Love, who underwent surgery after he dislocated his shoulder in the series-clinching win over the Celtics. Irving's absence means Cleveland's Big 3 — Love, Irving and LeBron James — is down to just one.
"We've got like 1 1/2 out of the three," joked James before learning Irving is out.
Cleveland isn't the only team saddled with key injuries.
"Obviously playing through the postseason, health is always the No. 1 thing," said James, who is trying to get to his fifth straight NBA Finals. "Luck comes into play a lot. You get lucky. And then the team that's playing at the highest level, that's playing great basketball. We haven't been the healthiest, we've had a little luck here and there, but we've been playing at a high level."
The Hawks, too, are banged up. They lost top shooter Kyle Korver for the rest of the postseason with a severely sprained ankle, and forward DeMarre Carroll is playing on a sprained knee sustained in the series opener.
Kent Bazemore is starting Game 3 for Korver.
"We've got a very resilient group, a competitive group," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "They're here for a reason."