With no NBA, Cavs' Irving hits books, treats foot

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WESTLAKE, Ohio (AP) — Kyrie Irving left college after one year to play in the NBA.

He’s back in school.

It’s all the No. 1 overall draft pick can do during the lockout, and Cleveland’s rookie point guard has no idea when he’ll start his real job.

As Irving waits for the league to settle its labor dispute, the 19-year-old is working toward a psychology degree in North Carolina — and getting healthy.

Irving has played in just 11 games since last year because of a severe injury to his right foot, which doctors have told him won’t be fully healed for three more months. He had foot arch pain but not plantar fasciitis. Irving said he hasn’t had pain in his foot for seven months. A delay to the start of the season may actually help him.

“My foot is not going to completely heal for a full year,” he said Saturday while taking a break during a two-day youth basketball camp he’s hosting. “I still feel 150 percent healthy. But as far as my foot healing properly it will take another three months.”

Irving has been working out without any restrictions while taking four courses this semester. He’s also keeping an eye on the labor dispute, which reached a crucial juncture Friday when the league postponed training camps indefinitely and canceled 43 preseason games.

“I’m not really disappointed,” Irving said. “I’m trying to be as optimistic as possible with this whole labor situation. “Hopefully, the NBA and players’ association can come to a deal that is fair for both sides.”

While other players, including superstar Kobe Bryant and other big-name stars, consider playing overseas to stay sharp — and get paid — during the lockout, Irving is content to remain part of Duke’s student body.

“I’m going to try and stay in school as long as possible until the lockout is over,” he said. “My dad still stresses education in my life. Me finishing up my sophomore year would be great, but me being able to play in an NBA game would be better. I don’t want to go overseas. I’ve got a guaranteed contract here and I don’t want to risk injury over there.”

Irving doesn’t fault any of his peers for playing elsewhere.

“Players have to make money and at the end of the day, it’s a business,” he said. “You have to weigh it in Kobe’s side also. He wants to play basketball along with all the other players. It’s his decision and we have to respect it.”

Irving said the Cavaliers players have discussed voluntary workouts for mid-October.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.