ESPN Sources: With the unfolding circumstances of Brooklyn’s season – including injuries, Covid losses and an inordinate minutes load on their superstar players – the Nets are bringing back All-Star guard Kyrie Irving as a part-time player for games outside of New York.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 17, 2021
The return of Irving is a policy reversal from the steadfast decision general manager Sean Marks and owner Joe Tsai made back in October to not allow Irving to play until he complied with New York City COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Now the Nets, amidst a slew of injuries and an ongoing outbreak amongst several teams that have added plenty of drama in the middle of the season, will allow Irving to come back as a part-time player.
Tsai, Marks, Coach Steve Nash, and key players were reportedly supportive of the decision to bring Irving back. ESPN says that Irving was eager to come back and play road games with the Nets. However, Woj reports that Irving’s return is contingent on him passing a series of virus tests and that Irving and Brooklyn have agreed on a plan that would allow him to start ramping up his conditioning to return to the court.
The Nets return to the court Saturday against the Magic for a three-game homestand before going on a Western Conference road trip that starts December 23 against the Trail Blazers and ends against the Clippers.