Kyrie Irving to rejoin Brooklyn Nets for road games to help with load management | NBA News

Kyrie Irving has rejoined the Brooklyn Nets part-time to support a roster that is feeling the pressure of a difficult schedule and absences due to Covid protocols.

The Nets decided Friday that Irving will return to training and playing away games, even though he cannot play at home because he does not meet the New York City vaccination mandate.

The Nets initially determined that Irving would not play with them until he could play in all games. But, worried about the heavy workload on Kevin Durant and understaffed with seven players unavailable due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the Nets figured they couldn’t miss the chance to add the All-Star guard. .

“We came to this decision with the full support of our players and after careful consideration of our current circumstances, including players who miss matches due to injuries and health and safety protocols,” said the general manager. Sean Marks. “We believe that the addition of Kyrie will not only make us a better team, but will allow us to more optimally balance the physical demands of the entire roster.”

Members of NYC professional and college teams must be vaccinated against the coronavirus in order to play in public arenas. Irving refused to get vaccinated and hasn’t trained with the Nets since October.

Given this layoff, it’s unclear how soon he’ll be ready to play. But the Nets, despite leading the Eastern Conference with a 21-8 record, need healthy bodies.

Starters James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge and DeAndre ‘Bembry are in the health and safety protocols, along with Paul Millsap, Bruce Brown, James Johnson and Jevon Carter.

He forced Durant, the NBA’s top scorer, to play far more minutes than the Nets would like. Coach Steve Nash said Thursday he wanted him to rest, and the Nets said Durant will rest a sore right ankle on Saturday against Orlando on the opening night of a back-to-back.

The Nets figure faces some criticism for bringing back Irving right now, as coronavirus cases increase and more players are proving positive and forced to abide by protocols.

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James Harden and Kevin Durant in action against the Toronto Raptors

But, with Harden still struggling sometimes after a hamstring injury in the playoffs, the Nets have been unable to come close to the attack that was one of the most powerful in the NBA last season. Irving, who averaged 26.9ppg last season, should help them come back close.

He’ll still have to miss away games against the New York Knicks and the Toronto Raptors unless he’s vaccinated, but the Nets can have him for everything else as long as he continues to test negative.

Irving is allowed to practice at home, as the Nets’ training facility was considered a private location.

Irving will face stricter rules if he remains an unvaccinated player, though the use of additional masks and tests will return later this month anyway.

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