Kyrie Irving will make his season debut during Wednesday’s (Jan. 5) game against the Indiana Pacers after previously being banned from the team for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
On Wednesday, Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash talked to reporters about Irving’s return. While he would not reveal whether the star guard would be starting or coming off the bench, he did say that he will play a majority of the game. “I don’t think it’s where he can play 38 [minutes],” Nash said. “But I think he can play a big chunk of the game. He’s played a lot — he’s had three or four full-court days with the 5-on-5, so I think he’s capable of playing extended minutes, but not necessarily his customary high 30s.”
The coach said that he anticipates Irving will have “a little bit of nerves” in his first game back, but he said that he “looks excited and happy to be back. And enthusiastic.”
As REVOLT previously reported, Irving was prohibited from playing and practicing with the team after he refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which was required by the state of New York. Following the ban, the point guard took to Instagram Live to publicly speak about his decision to remain unvaccinated and clear up rumors about him retiring.
“I’m staying grounded in what I believe in,” Irving said at the time. “It’s not about being anti-vaxx or about being on one side or the other. It’s about being true to what feels good for me. I’m still uncertain about a lot of things and that’s ok. If I’m going to be demonized about having more questions and taking my time to make a decision with my life, then that’s just what it is.”
In December, the organization reversed its initial ban and decided to bring Irving back to the team as a part-time player due to injuries and COVID losses. However, the former NBA champion is still not allowed to play in home games unless he gets vaccinated.