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.
Nets star Kyrie Irving has entered COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 18, 2021
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.
Got some clarity from the Nets: Kyrie Irving would not have entered the health and safety protocols if he was merely testing to return to the team. He has returned a positive or inconclusive test, which requires 5 days of consecutive negative tests for unvaccinated players.
— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) December 18, 2021
To say that the NBA world had opinions about Irving entering COVID-19 protocols immediately after returning would be an understatement.
Pains me to say that the novel coronavirus has mastered comedic timing https://t.co/hRNAOCI6zI
— Mike (@hammerito) December 18, 2021
Well well well if it isn’t the consequences of my own actions https://t.co/o5nEpfWlGs
— David Gardner (@byDavidGardner) December 18, 2021
If it was possble for a gif to trend the grandpa simpson one has gota be in the hundreds of thousands already https://t.co/sixcoW3VYs
— PFT Commenter (@PFTCommenter) December 18, 2021
this is the hardest i’ve laughed in months https://t.co/vYHVS3HBHk
— Yulebert Reindeerko (@AlbertBurneko) December 18, 2021
What'd they think was going to happen? https://t.co/RwF4tXHI5T
— Matthew Doyle (@MattDoyle76) December 18, 2021
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.