Durant, Irving, Aldridge clear protocols for Nets

NBA

The Brooklyn Nets announced Tuesday that Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and LaMarcus Aldridge had cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

Aldridge has been in the protocols for two weeks, while Durant and Irving both entered them 10 days ago.

Brooklyn had a massive COVID-19 outbreak across its roster, with more than 10 players entering the protocols at the same time. That caused the NBA to postpone three Nets games in a row — home games against the Denver Nuggets and Washington Wizards, and a road game against the Portland Trail Blazers — before Brooklyn returned to the court for Saturday’s Christmas Day win over the Los Angeles Lakers and Monday’s victory over the LA Clippers.

The Nets will next play Thursday at home against the Philadelphia 76ers — the last opponent Durant played against before going into the protocols. He scored 34 points to go with 11 rebounds and eight assists to lead the short-handed Nets to a 114-105 victory.

While Durant will likely be on the court for that game, Irving will not be, as he still is unable to play in games at either Barclays Center or Madison Square Garden because of his failure to comply with New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Given that he is unvaccinated, Irving can only play in games outside of New York and Toronto — meaning the first time he could take the court this season will be Jan. 5 in Indianapolis against the Pacers. Nets coach Steve Nash said recently Irving will need “a week or two” to ramp back up after exiting the protocols.

Irving hasn’t officially been with the team since the preseason, when Brooklyn decided to send him away rather than playing him in only road games. The Nets changed their minds recently, however, saying the circumstances of the season — and with so many players being out due to COVID-19 sweeping through the league — led them to reverse course.

Irving entered the protocols the following day.

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