The Brooklyn Nets announced Friday it was bringing back Kyrie Irving, who hasn’t played in three months thanks to his refusal to get vaccinated, because too many players were benched with COVID. Less than 24 hours later, Irving was back off the roster due to the virus.
The All-Star guard was put into the NBA’s COVID protocols on Saturday following a test.
Irving is the ninth player on the Nets to enter protocols, with Kevin Durant also added on Saturday morning. COVID cases among vaccinated players have hobbled the league over the past week, a possible indication that the Omicron variant is striking professional basketball. Players needs five consecutive days of negative tests in order to rejoin the roster, though Irving would still only be with them as a part-time player. New York City’s vaccine requirement bars him from playing at home in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. That leaves only “road games in cities that do not have similar rules,” according to ESPN.
A string of injuries and COVID-related absences seemingly forced the Nets’ hand in bringing Irving back: General manager Sean Marks said the decision was made “with the full support of our players and after careful consideration of our current circumstances, including players missing games due to injuries and health and safety protocols.”
More on omicron
- What to Know About the New COVID Booster Shots
- The Dismantling of Hong Kong
- What We Know About All the Omicron Subvariants, Including BA.2.12.1