Nets guard Kyrie Irving has now missed the team's last 19 games, with the most recent being Thursday's 94-82 loss to the Knicks.
And while the team has said that Irving has not yet been cleared for contact because of his shoulder impingement injury, could there be more to the All-Star's absence?
NBA analyst Ric Bucher was a guest on WFAN on Friday, and when asked about Irving's status, Bucher said that he's been hearing that there's more than meets the eye with the situation.
"I hate to buy in to salacious rumors, but I've heard it from enough different places, and some of which I give credibility, that there's a lot more going on with Kyrie than just physical issues, that he's struggling," Bucher said. "I think we remember the Instagram post after the Boston reception, or rather reaction, and so there's some things that he has to work out, I don't know, psychologically, mentally, however you want to determine it.
"But my understanding is that there's more going on here than just physical issues, and where that stands and what he's doing to get that taken care of, I don't know, but there are some troubling signs that I've been told that there's more than just physical ailments that he's dealing with."
Though Irving did not play when the Nets traveled to Boston in late November, the Boston crowd still chanted "Kyrie sucks!" and "Where's Kyrie?" throughout the game, leading Irving to post a message on his Instagram account.
"It happens all the time and Tonight just shows how Sports/Entertainment will always be ignorant and obtrusive. "It's one big SHOW that means Very VERY little in the real world that most people live in because there are Actually things that matter going on within it."
Irving continued, "Butttt, This Game of Sports entertainment matter more than someone's mental health and well being right? Or the real life things that happen to people everyday but they still have to Perform for the NBA and its fans? RIGHT?"
In his first season with the Nets, Irving has averaged 28.5 points, 7.2 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game.
Bucher was also asked about when Irving could potentially return to the lineup, and his guess seems to be as good as anyone's.
"I think there's an unknown there, but it's not just like he needs to get past some physical problems," Bucher said. "And how that is handled and how they deal with it, that's open-ended."