Kyrie Irving could return to practice after ruling over Nets training facility
It was their opening home pre-season game Friday night at Barclays Center, but Kyrie Irving missed his first potentially multiple home game of the season, and it’s clear his continued absence could turn into a major distraction for a team with championship aspirations.
The Bucks rested in their “Big Three” from Giannis Antetokounmue, Chris Middleton and Gro Holiday as well as Brooke Lopez, but they advanced seven points with 4:15 to play before a group of Nets put together a 17-6 final kick. After the victory of 119-115. Unheralded Jordan Nora led the way for the visitors with a 30-point effort. Kevin Durant topped the net with 18 points.
Irving is listed as “disqualified”. Irving hasn’t disclosed his vaccination status, but no one who isn’t in compliance with New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine that limits access to certain public buildings by unvaccinated people 12 and older has been admitted to the Barclays Center. Irving may miss 43 regular season games played in New York, including two visits to Madison Square Garden against the Knicks.
Irving also missed three practices this week, but a few hours before a tip-off against Bucks, New York City officials suddenly announced that the Nets’ HSS training facility is a private building not under the vaccine mandate. That means Irving can return to training there on Sunday, the Nets said. Irving will also likely attend the Nets’ “Practice in the Park” event scheduled for Saturday afternoon at Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
“It’s positive for us to be able to welcome him back into the building to train and be on the team,” Nash said. “But this is completely new information to us. We’re trying to work through what the actual details are, so I don’t want to comment too much on it until I know what the parameters are. But it seems to be a positive news story.”
Clearly, New York City’s vaccine mandate won’t stop Irving from participating in an outdoor practice with the Nets on Saturday. “I think the hope is that Ky will be in practice [Saturday]”It would be great to have him there, but I can’t confirm that yet,” Nash said.
The fact that Nash couldn’t say for sure if Irving would be attending outdoor rehearsals, questioned whether or not communication between the team and Irving had become distant.
“It was very natural,” Nash said. “We are looking forward to his presence. I think [Saturda]Possible, and hopefully Sunday will be more likely. But we’ll see.”
Irving’s first proven chance to play on Monday night comes when he faces the Nets 76ers in Philadelphia. But when asked if Irving would play that night, Nash was again vague.
“Looks like we might have Kerry on the road with us, but I’m not sure if he’ll play because we haven’t seen him in a week. Obviously, safety first and making sure he’s not at high risk of injury. We’ll see.”
Notes and quotes: Paul Millsap (HSP) was disqualified against the Bucks… Irving was replaced by Bruce Brown in the starting line-up.