The Cleveland Cavaliers may have some trouble headed their way if Kyrie Irving’s knee issue eventually turns out to be serious. Irving briefly left in the third quarter of the team’s disappointing loss to the shorthanded Atlanta Hawks with a sore knee in which he said, “it f**king flared up again.”

Irving’s knee injury is troubling considering that it’s his surgically repaired knee, which also cost him the 2015 NBA Finals. If Irving continues to play on a sore knee, he may ultimately need surgery again and would have to miss the entire playoffs.

Essentially, Cleveland would be playing with fire if they allow him to play the final three games of the season.

Irving said himself that, “it’s never easy, even the year after, just to realize that you have plates and screws in your knee and stuff like that.” Having screws and plates to keep your bones together is a scary image, and it could become a lingering problem. Knee injuries are to be taken seriously. Otherwise, it could sideline you for a really long time.

Rest could help

The NBA playoffs begin April 15, which is a little less than a week away. Resting Irving the final week of the season would be ideal for the Cavaliers. It doesn’t matter that they haven’t secured the number one seed yet.

It’s more important to have Irving healthy for the playoffs even as the number two seed than to risk him for the chance to get number one. I’m not a big fan of resting star players, but Irving is hurt and rest would be the best short-term solution for this situation.

Kevin Love must step up

If Irving is going to be rested, Kevin Love must step up in his absence to help LeBron James carry the team to the top spot.

Love would need to fill Irving’s void, while James will also have to raise his level of play. However, James usually steps to the occasion, but Love every now and then disappears when the team needs him most.

Nervous time in Cleveland

Nevertheless, it’s nervous time in Cleveland. Irving is known to be injury prone, so the team should fear what could happen to him in the long run.

Obviously, the Cavaliers must be fully healthy if they want to repeat, but this injury is frightening. Will Irving last throughout the playoffs with a sore knee? That’s a tough question to answer.

For Cleveland’s sake, let’s hope the injury doesn’t turn out to be severe, and Irving is able to play through it. But, given Irving’s history, the team must be super cautious, which means they should rest him.