Kyrie Irving’s coronavirus vaccine status is going to be the talk of the Brooklyn Nets for a majority of the season, and coach Steve Nash indicated the team is preparing to be without him for home games.
Nash talked to reporters on Sunday as the team prepared for its third preseason game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
"I think we recognize he’s not playing home games. We’re going to have to for sure play without him this year; so it just depends on when, where and how much," Nash said, via the New York Post.
The Nets play 82 regular-season games, and Irving right now is set to miss 41 of them because of New York City’s local coronavirus mandate requiring people to be vaccinated when entering indoor facilities. Officials granted Irving an exemption for practices.
"Right now, we assume he’s not going to be available for home games. Anything can change. Who’s to say the city’s ordinance could change? Anything could change," Nash said.
"Right now, we’re just trying to remain flexible, open-minded and figure it out as we go, because information is coming in by the half-day here, whether it’s Paul’s [Millsap health and safety protocol] situation, Kyrie’s situation or the laws. We found out Friday he could come in the building, so things are shifting. No one’s been through this before, and we’re just trying to figure it out as we go."
Irving has asked for privacy when it comes to his vaccine status, but possibly not being around for 41 games could become a detriment to Brooklyn’s championship hopes.
Kevin Durant said Friday he would like Irving around.
"That’s always tough when guys are in and out of the lineup, especially a starter like Kyrie. I don’t know exactly what the plan is going forward right now," he said, via SNY. "I’m sure they’re still making decisions. That’s a better question for Steve (Nash), Sean (Marks), and Kyrie, and they’ll fill me in when they make a decision. I’m going to keep playing and keep focusing on what we’re focusing on in the locker room and once that gets figured out, we move forward.
"At least he can practice, but we want him here for the whole thing. We want him here for games, home games, practices, away games, shootarounds, all of it. So, hopefully we figure this thing out."