Kyrie Irving’s return to the Brooklyn Nets is starting with a trip to the NBA’s health and safety protocols — and Kevin Durant is joining him.
- Kyrie Irving has been a vocal anti-vaxxer and had been sidelined as a result
- Irving rejoined the Nets this week, but was only allowed to play away games
- Irving now needs five days of negative tests before he can attend training again
The Nets’ outbreak worsened on Saturday when they announced both stars were in protocols, giving them a league-high nine players on the injury report for that reason.
Durant was already scheduled for a night off to rest on Saturday against Orlando on the opening night of a back-to-back. Instead, he became ineligible to play anyway when he was added to the injury report.
The Nets decided on Friday that Irving would rejoin them for practices and road games, though he remains ineligible to play at home because he hasn’t met New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for athletes playing in the city’s public venues.
He has to test to be cleared to play, and apparently he either tested positive or had an inconclusive result.
James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre’ Bembry, Bruce Brown, Jevon Carter, Paul Millsap and James Johnson are all listed as out because of the protocols.
Needing to have eight players to start a game, the Nets scrapped their plan to rest Patty Mills and said he would be available. They also signed swingman James Ennis III and guard Shaquille Harrison to 10-day contracts.
Chicago previously had 10 players in health and safety protocols, causing two of their games this week to be postponed. Three of them were cleared as of Friday, putting the Bulls on track to resume on Sunday against the Lakers.
Brooklyn’s woes make Orlando’s seem minor. The Magic still have five players out for protocols.
Also on Saturday, Cavaliers rookie forward Evan Mobley entered health and safety protocols.
Mobley has been a major reason for Cleveland’s unexpected and surprising start this season. The No 3 overall draft pick has been as good as advertised while helping the Cavs go 18-12 and surge into fourth spot in the Eastern Conference standings.