The Brooklyn Nets got to see how newest addition James Harden fit into their roster alongside Kevin Durant during their Saturday night win over the Orlando Magic. Harden and Durant looked like a terrifying force, with the former putting up a triple-double in his Nets debut. After the game, Harden took to Instagram to share his excitement over his new team, while acknowledging that this team isn’t even in its final form due to Kyrie Irving’s absence.
Irving’s return, however, could be just around the corner after the star point guard completed his mandatory quarantine after the league determined he violated health and safety protocols by attending a family birthday party at a private venue without wearing a mask. Irving is reportedly ramping up basketball activities after his lengthy absence from the court, and according to Nets head coach Steve Nash, the hope is to get the star guard back in the fold as soon as possible.
“Hopefully, we’re close. I can’t really give you a firm update on that,” Nash told reporters via the New York Post ahead of the team’s game against the Magic. We have to assess that as we go. We do want to make sure he ramps accordingly so that he’s not susceptible to unnecessary injury and protect him the best we can. But hopefully, it will be a short period of time. That is to be determined, though.”
The Nets have been without Irving for six consecutive games, and Brooklyn listed his absence as personal reasons. There isn’t much clarity on why exactly Irving decided to step away from the team for a period of time, but the Nets have been adamant in saying that if he chooses to disclose that to the media, then he will on his own time. The COVID-19 violation only added more complication to his return, as he likely could’ve returned sooner if he wanted to, but was required to go through quarantine before re-joining the team.
When Brooklyn made the trade for Harden, Nets general manager Sean Marks said he spoke to Irving and that the guard was excited to return to the team and get back to work. However, as Nash noted, it won’t be as easy as just putting him in the next game on the schedule. Irving hasn’t played in almost two weeks, and as a player with a lengthy injury history, it wouldn’t be wise to rush him back.
The Nets’ next game is on Monday against the Milwaukee Bucks, followed by a two-game series on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday and Friday.
When Irving has been on the court for Brooklyn this season, he’s looked great alongside Durant. He’s averaging 27.1 points, 6.1 assists and 5.3 rebounds while shooting a career-high 42.6 percent from 3-point range on 8.7 attempts per game. Whenever Irving makes his highly anticipated return, it will give everyone around the league a first look at what this Brooklyn team can really be going forward as the new powerhouse team in the East.
Published: 2021-01-17 17:43:33
Tags: #Steve #Nash #hopeful #Kyrie #Irving #close #rejoining #Nets #star #guard #completes #mandatory #quarantine