Brooklyn Nets fans will have to wait a little longer to see their new star trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving in action. Irving was ruled out for Brooklyn's game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night due to the NBA's health and safety protocols, marking the seventh straight contest he'll miss. Irving took time away from the team for personal reasons, and then was forced to undergo a 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 has cleared the quarantine period, but is still ramping up his conditioning as apparently both he and the Nets don't think he's quite ready for game action. His return to action is now expected against the Cleveland Cavaliers later in the week, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The Nets play the Cavs on Wednesday and again on Friday.
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Since clearing quarantine, Irving has been 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 on Saturday, via the New York Post. 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."
When it comes to Irving finding a rhythm out on the floor after a decently long layoff, Nash isn't concerned.
"I don't worry about Kyrie falling out of rhythm," Nash said. "He's a brilliant basketball player. When he comes back, I'm sure it won't take him long to be himself."
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. When Irving does make 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.