Dec 1, 2021; Newark, New Jersey, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (right) walks court-side during the second half of the game between the Seton Hall Pirates and the Wagner Seahawks at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

We learned Friday night that the Brooklyn Nets were looking to bring Kyrie Irving back into their lineup for road games that take place outside of New York City. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, “injuries, players lost to health and safety protocols and an inordinate minutes load on their superstar players led the team to this move.”

The Nets have been overrun with players testing positive for COVID-19 and entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols. They include Paul Millsap, LaMarcus Aldridge, James Johnson, DeAndre’ Bembry, Jevon Carter, James Harden, and Bruce Brown.

Irving has been away from the Nets because he is unvaccinated and New York City’s vaccine mandate precludes him from participating. While they previously considered letting him play part-time for out-of-state road games, they ultimately choose against it. However, with the roster decimated by COVID-19 and injuries, the team decided it needs Irving back for the 24 road games outside of New York.

However, things took a wild twist on Saturday when it was announced that not only had Kevin Durant tested positive for COVID-19 but Irving was also entering COVID-19 health and safety protocols the same day he returned to the team.

That wild development is because Irving must have returned a positive or inconclusive test, which requires 5 days of consecutive negative tests for unvaccinated players.

To say that the NBA world had opinions about Irving entering COVID-19 protocols immediately after returning would be an understatement.

Assuming Irving is able to produce five consecutive negative tests, he could be eligible to return to the Nets by December 23. We’ll see how that plays out, not to mention the way Omicron is affecting things league-wide. There are more positive tests, protocols, and game issues to come.

[Shams Charania]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to