Nets point guard Kyrie Irving will make his season debut in Wednesday’s road game vs. the Pacers, as relayed by Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Irving, 29, is unvaccinated and has missed the season’s first 34 games, as Brooklyn opted to hold him out. He remains ineligible to play in Nets home games or games against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Per multiple reports, Irving does not intend to get vaccinated.
The Nets reversed course on the decision to hold him out after needing to sign multiple players to hardship deals following a teamwide COVID outbreak. The rest of the team and entire coaching staff is vaccinated.
“I understood their decision and respected it,” Irving told reporters. “I really had to sit back and think and try not to become too emotionally attached to what they were deciding to do. I had to really evaluate things and see it from their perspective, meaning the organization, my teammates.
“I really empathized and I understood their choice to say if you are not going to be fully vaccinated, then you can’t be a full [participant].”
Nets coach Steve Nash had said initially that Irving would need a week or two to get into game shape.
“I’ve missed so much time,” Irving said. “It’s my first day back around the block with the guys, and it felt like it’s been a long time. It’s only been, what, three months or so. But it has felt like the days have been slowly crossed off the calendar while I am sitting at home. When I thought about [returning to practice], I could barely sleep.”
The Nets (23-11) currently sit in second place in the Eastern Conference, a game behind the Bulls.
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