Kylie Irving has begun the process of returning to the Nets as a part-time player.
Kylie Irving has begun the process of returning to the Nets as a part-time player – Irving has started COVID testing, but his season debut date has yet to be set.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Kyrie Irving has started the process of returning to the Brooklyn Nets. Irving has started COVID testing and is ramping up his workload, but his exact return date is still unknown. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Irving will return to the Nets as a part-time player.
Irving has yet to play this season due to a New York City immunization obligation. Players on the Knicks and Nets are not allowed to play in home games if they are not vaccinated, which Irving is. Irving will only be able to play in away games if he returns to the Nets without a vaccination. The Nets are presently 21-8 and possess the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference, but several players have been lost to the league’s COVID-19 rules.
Irving would have been able to practice with the team under a previous ruling in New York City because the Nets’ practice facility is a private office building, but the mandate does not grant the same status to Barclays Center, which means Irving will be unable to play in home or road games at Madison Square Garden without a vaccine. The Nets initially refused to allow Irving to join the team as a part-time player, but with Kevin Durant and James Harden taking on massive workloads and numerous players currently out with COVID-19, the Nets appear to have decided that some Irving is better than none.
The Nets still have 27 road games left on their schedule after 14 games on the road. However, two of those games are at Madison Square Garden, and one is in Toronto, limiting Irving to a total of 24 games without a vaccination this season. As a top seed, Irving may only be able to play in three of the Nets’ seven postseason games against a given opponent.
Bringing Irving back in such a situation will cause problems for the Nets. They’ll have to switch up their game strategy and rotation on a regular basis. They’ll also have a smaller roster at home. However, with no end in sight to the Nets’ and NBA’s troubles this season, Brooklyn decided that this was the wisest course of action.