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NBA: Nets’ Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving enter COVID protocol

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Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, the NBA’s leading scorer, and All-Star guard Kyrie Irving entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Saturday.

The two became the eighth and ninth members of the Nets in the COVID protocols, joining James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge, Paul Millsap, Bruce Brown, DeAndre’ Bembry, James Johnson and Jevon Carter.

Durant has carried the Nets to a 21-8 record and a three-game lead over the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. On the season, he is averaging 29.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game.

The 33-year-old has been on a tear in December. In seven games this month, he’s averaging 33.1 points, 9.0 rebounds and 6.7 assists, and he scored a season-high 51 points last Sunday in a 116-104 win over the Detroit Pistons.

In his 14th season, Durant is a former league MVP, an 11-time All-Star and a four-time league scoring champion.

Coach Steve Nash previously said Durant would sit out Saturday night’s game against the Orlando Magic to rest a sore right ankle.

The news about Durant comes a day after the Nets announced Irving is returning to the team and will play in most road games.

Irving hasn’t played this season due to his strong stance on remaining unvaccinated, which made him unavailable for roughly half the team’s games.

The 29-year-old isn’t allowed to play in home games due to New York City mandates that require players to be vaccinated. He also won’t be able to play in road games against the New York Knicks, as well as in Toronto due to Ontario’s mandates.

Saturday’s home game against Orlando marks the first of four games in six days for the Nets, who also are scheduled to play the Lakers in Los Angeles in a marquee Christmas night game.

–Field Level Media

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