BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, two of the Brooklyn Nets’ biggest stars, are unable to play after being placed into the NBA’s COVID health and safety protocols, according to the team and multiple published reports.
The Nets are set to take on the Orlando Magic in Brooklyn Saturday night.
Durant — averaging 29.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.9 assists for the Nets — was already expected to sit out the game due to ankle soreness.
Despite leading the Eastern Conference with a 21-8 record, the Nets are in need of healthy players as Durant and Irving join a long list of team members on health and safety protocols, including starters James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge and DeAndre’ Bembry. A total of nine players are currently out due to health and safety protocols.
The update also comes one day after the Nets announced they will allow Irving to come back to practice and play in road games, even though he remains unable to play at home because he doesn’t meet New York City’s vaccine mandate.
The Nets originally determined that Irving wouldn’t play with them at all until he could play in all games. But worried about the heavy workload on Durant and short-handed because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the Nets figured they couldn’t pass up the chance to add the All-Star guard.
Now, the team will play without Irving and Durant.