The Boston Celtics received the news they feared on Thursday when star point guard Kyrie Irving was ruled out for the season. The five-time All-Star was initially expected to return from his knee injury at the start of the NBA postseason. Now, he won't take the court again until the beginning of the 2018-19 season, with a 4-5 month timeline placed on his recovery.

What does Irving's injury mean to the parties most affected by it? Glad you asked.

Celtics doomed without Irving

Look, the Celtics have managed to withstand the loss of Gordon Hayward, whose season all but ended just minutes after it started, back in October. Boston still jumped to their current slot at No.

2 in the Eastern Conference, seeing the development of Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Terry Rozier in the interim. But Irving's absence is a whole different animal.

Brad Stevens knew immediately that Hayward wasn't coming back this season, so the prized coach was able to adjust accordingly to having just one proven star (two if you include Al Horford). The Celtics are a solid 7-4 since Irving last played this season, but those wins include victories over Orlando, Sacramento, and Phoenix -- none of those really move the needle this season in the NBA.

There's also something invaluable about the championship experience Irving brings to the team. Everyone remembers the shot he drilled to win a title with Cleveland in 2016. The only other player on the current roster who has won an NBA title, however, is Aron Baynes, who averaged less than ten minutes per game on the 2013-14 Spurs.

There's always next year.

Rest of NBA ready to pounce

The Boston Celtics are likely to finish as the second-best team in the Eastern Conference, giving them one of three opponents in the first round of the NBA playoffs: the Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat, or Washington Wizards.

Each would present a difficult problem for Boston. Milwaukee has been outscored this season, but has the best player among the four teams in Giannis Antetokounmpo. Washington has struggled, but that's been without John Wall, who only recently returned to the court -- he should have little trouble going at Rozier pound-for-pound. Then, there's Miami [VIDEO], the most similar team to Boston with their defensive prowess [VIDEO] (opponents shoot .449 on them). Without Irving, the Celtics' offense could be in for some ugly performances against Miami.

As long as everyone else stays healthy, the Celtics should brawl their way past the first round, however, dreams of an NBA title -- or even an NBA Finals appearance -- left with Irving's health.