Nets’ Kevin Durant enters NBA’s COVID-19 protocols

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Allowing Kyrie Irving back, even half the time, bodes well for the Nets’ future. Their present, though, has never looked so dire.

Brooklyn added an eighth player to its health and safety protocols Saturday, and the biggest of all. They will be without MVP candidate Kevin Durant, who entered the league’s COVID-19 protocols.

The Nets are scrambling to field a team for Saturday’s Barclays Center matchup with the Magic, which Durant already had been expected to miss with left ankle soreness. They officially signed forward James Ennis III and guard Shaquille Harrison, who both likely will need to suit up immediately. If the Nets can have each available plus Nic Claxton (who is questionable with left wrist soreness) and David Duke Jr. (probable with left hip soreness), they would have nine available players. 

Nets forward Kevin Durant looks on during a game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Dec. 16, 2021 at Barclays Center.
Kevin Durant
NBAE via Getty Images

There is not much room for further player loss. If a team has fewer than eight available players, a game would be postponed. Perhaps because of the need, Patty Mills, who the Nets had said a day earlier would rest, is expected to play. 

Of course, one game is tiny compared to the contributions of Durant, who is averaging a league-best 29.7 points per game and has carried a team that has not had Irving and usually has had a lesser James Harden.

Durant joins Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre’ Bembry, Bruce Brown, Javon Carter, James Johnson and Paul Millsap in the COVID protocols as the virus spikes across the country and wreaks havoc for several sports leagues.

The Nets also are without Joe Harris after left ankle surgery and the unvaccinated Irving, whom Brooklyn will allow to return to the team as a part-time, away-from-New-York player.

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