Kyrie Irving Credit: Bill Moore photo

If you turned on your television Sunday evening expecting to see the Brooklyn Nets play the Denver Nuggets, you now know that the game was postponed. So was Tuesday’s against the Washington Wizards.

Statements from the NBA and the Nets’ public relations staff stated, “the next two games for the Brooklyn Nets have been postponed because of players and staff members entering the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols.” In total, four games were postponed on Sunday.

When the Nets played the Orlando Magic this past Saturday, they were minus ten of players from their roster due to protocols. Heading that list were starters Kevin Durant, James Harden and LaMarcus Aldridge. Not surprisingly they were defeated 100-93. The Nets’ scheduled game against the Portland Trailblazers tonight has also been postponed because the Nets do not have the required eight available players.

At 21-9 when last night’s NBA schedule began, the Nets were still the top seed in the Eastern Conference. With COVID-19 and injuries––starting shooting guard Joe Harris has been out since mid-November due to a left ankle injury surgery––the Nets have changed course and will now allow Kyrie Irving, who was deactivated in October because he was unvaccinated, to rejoin the team. 

In October, Nets general manager Sean Marks said Irving being unvaccinated “restricts his ability to be a full-time member of our team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability.” Irving, Marks added, would not be allowed to “play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant.” 

Note, Marks said “will not,” in October, but he didn’t say “will not ever.” With the team’s back against the wall, Irving, still unvaccinated, will now be allowed to play, part time, in away games, but still must comply with the New York State vaccine mandate which means he cannot play when in New York.

“The overall environment has changed as we’ve all known, drastically,” said Marks before Saturday’s Magic game. 

“COVID has done a number on the team, and on society in general, so that’s certainly changed. Managing our overall player load, that’s something we’ve gotta be aware of throughout the course of this season.”

The status of the Nets’ Christmas Day game in Los Angeles against the Lakers is uncertain.

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