Kyrie Irving could soon make his season debut with the Brooklyn Nets.
According to reports from Shams Charania of The Athletic and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the franchise has changed its stance on Irving as a part-time participant, ushering in the seven-time All-Star beginning the process of rejoining the team.
MORE: Why the Nets Are Optimistic Kyrie Will Play This Season
According to New York City guidelines for people who are not vaccinated against COVID-19, Irving, who is not vaccinated, cannot play games that are held in New York, but can practice on the premises. deprived of the team and fully participate in road games.
Sources: Kyrie Irving will play road games and practice at home with the Brooklyn Nets. He is expected to practice with the team in the next few days. https://t.co/QilgYMM4Lo
– Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 17, 2023
After initial reports, Nets general manager Sean Marks issued a statement regarding Irving’s return.
The following statement has been issued by General Manager Sean Marks: pic.twitter.com/DAldOYe4nj
– Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) December 18, 2023
Why are the Nets allowing Kyrie Irving to return?
Prior to the 2023-22 season, Marks issued a statement regarding Irving’s availability, saying that “we have decided that Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant.”
While Marks and the organization expressed that they respected and supported Irving’s individual right to choose, they stood firm in the position that they will not allow any team to participate with part-time availability.
However, in mid-December, it was reported that there was increased optimism in Irving to return to action, as the team was feeling his absence.
According to Wojnarowski, a recent series of injuries and a COVID outbreak within the Nets has exacerbated the need for Irving’s team, prompting the franchise to change course to allow the superstar guard to participate part-time.
As a byproduct of the lack of available bodies, the team has been forced to make use of the NBA’s hardship exemption and Kevin Durant is second in the league in minutes per game.
Irving’s return increases Brooklyn’s rotation and decreases the use of his MVP.
When could Kyrie Irving make his debut for the season?
It may be a while.
According to Wojnarowski, Irving will have to undergo a series of COVID tests before he can join the team. Irving, who hasn’t been with the team since October, will likely be placed on a return-to-game conditioning program to increase his activity.
Kyrie Irving has to test negative on five consecutive days before he can rejoin the team. Once he returns, he will have to test himself every day as an unvaccinated player. https://t.co/L1RwG8GORQ
– Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 17, 2023
As it stands, 29 of the Nets’ remaining 53 regular-season games will take place in New York City or Toronto, meaning Irving could play a maximum of 24 games this season.
Given the process of Irving’s return to the game, the realistic number is likely to be somewhere in the teens.
Nets Schedules 2023-22
|Dec. 18||vs. Orlando||7:30 pm||–|
|Decembre 19th||against nuggets||7:30 pm||NBA TV|
|December 21||against magicians||7:30 pm||TNT|
|December 23th||in Trail Blazers||10:00 pm||–|
|December 25th||in the lakers||8:00 pm||ABC / ESPN|
|December 27||in Clippers||10:30 pm||NBA TV|
|December 30||against 76ers||7:00 pm||NBA TV|
|January 1||against Clippers||7:30 pm||–|
|January 3||against Grizzlies||7:30 pm||NBA TV|
|January 5||in Pacers||7:30 pm||NBA TV|