The Nets made the announcement Thursday before playing the Philadelphia 76ers in their first game after the All-Star break.
Coach Kenny Atkinson said earlier this week that the point guard was still having trouble with the shoulder that sidelined him for 26 games this season and wouldn’t play Thursday.
Irving said pain in the shoulder initially worsened after a game on Nov. 4. The Nets then went on a five-game road trip, where Irving continued to play until the pain got so bad he was having trouble lifting his shoulder.
He got a cortisone shot on Dec. 24 and was able to return on Jan. 12, but he acknowledged that surgery might still be necessary. By deciding to have surgery now, Irving’s first season in Brooklyn ends after just 20 games.
Irving missed the last five games before the break with a sprained right knee. He now joins Kevin Durant on the sideline; the superstars signed with the Nets together in July. Durant has been out all season while recovering from surgery to repair his Achilles’ tendon.
Irving, who signed a 4-year, $141 million contract with the Nets last summer, is averaging 27.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 6.4 assists.
Brooklyn is still in good position to make the playoffs, coming out of the break in seventh place in the Eastern Conference and five games ahead of ninth-place Washington.