Kyrie Irving will not play for Nets until vaccination issue resolved

By Sports Desk October 12, 2021

Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the Brooklyn Nets until he is allowed to be a full participant, general manager Sean Marks has said.

The 29-year-old remains unvaccinated against coronavirus and is therefore ineligible to play in home games due to New York City mandates.

Under the city restrictions, people in New York must have at least one coronavirus vaccine to enter indoor arenas such as the Nets' Barclays Center home.

Irving – who would not be paid for missed home games – would have been available for most road games, but the Nets have decided to overlook the seven-time All-Star until he is cleared to play every night.

"Given the evolving nature of the situation and after thorough deliberation, we have decided Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant," Marks said in a statement on Tuesday. 

"Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose. Currently, the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability. 

"It is imperative that we continue to build chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-established values of togetherness and sacrifice. 

"Our championship goals for the season have not changed, and to achieve these goals each member of our organisation must pull in the same direction. 

"We are excited for the start of the season and look forward to a successful campaign that will make the borough of Brooklyn proud."

Irving has played just 74 regular season games in two years since joining the Nets, missing long stretches due to injury issues and personal reasons.

Last year, on the same team as high-profile team-mates Kevin Durant and James Harden, Irving scored 26.9 points per game. That dropped to 22.7 points in the playoffs as he was again restricted.

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    The return of Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart from a foot injury ignited the Celtics on the offensive end just as much as defensively, with the team hitting a red-hot 20-of-40 from three-point range.

    Boston's five that played at least 30 minutes – Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Grant Williams, Al Horford and Smart – shot 17-of-29 from long-range, and combined for 23 assists, which was two more than Miami had as a team.

    Speaking to post-game media, Butler said the Celtics "tried to embarrass us", but pointed out that they were always going to be facing an uphill battle against such an outlier shooting performance.

    "You do have to move on, but I don't like to move on from this. It has to hurt," he said.

    "They tried to embarrass us – they did embarrass us. I think we got to realise that, or use it as fuel, but realise that the game can get out of hand when you're playing against a really good team like them that can score the ball and get stops.

    "They made shots that they missed last game. That's just what it is.

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    He added: "I look at it as 'it can't get too much worse'. They whipped our tail on our home floor.

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