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Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles the ball during the third quarter against the Toronto Raptors at Amalie Arena on April 21, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Kyrie Irving didn’t return Tuesday after an inadvertent elbow from Nikola Vucevic. (Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Kyrie Irving took a blow to head and was ruled out of Tuesday’s game between the Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls.

The Nets guard collapsed to the court in the third quarter after Bulls center Nikola Vucevic inadvertently elbowed him in the face while the two jumped for a rebound. Vucevic’s left elbow connected near Irving’s right eye during the collision.

Irving remained lying on his back for several moments before his teammates and trainers helped him off the floor. He walked off the court on his own before the Nets quickly ruled him out with a facial contusion

More injury woes for Nets core

The Nets led, 68-58 when Irving left the court. His long-term prognosis was not immediately clear. The Nets are already playing without injured guard James Harden, who’s been sidelined with a hamstring strain since early April. Meanwhile, Brooklyn is in a fight for playoff positioning with the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks at the top of the Eastern Conference.

The Nets entered Tuesday’s games three games behind the 76ers for first place in the East while holding a one-game lead over the Bucks for second place. They’ve played much of the season with their star players injured, as Irving, Harden and Kevin Durant have played together in just seven games. 

Harden said last week that he plans to be ready to play in time for the postseason. Durant returned from lingering thigh injury on April, 25. After Tuesday’s game against the Bulls, the Nets have three regular season games remaining on their schedule. 

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