Here comes the cavalry.
Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and LaMarcus Aldridge cleared health and safety protocols on Tuesday, the Nets announced. The news came a day after Brooklyn defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 124-108, led by a 39 point performance from James Harden.
Aldridge entered protocol with a large wave on Dec. 14, and Durant and Irving entered on Dec. 18.
Nets coach Steve Nash had said on Monday that the likelihood of Durant returning from protocol was high once the team returned to New York.
The Nets have had 13 players go into COVID protocol during the course of the outbreak, with the highest number of players out at one time being 10.
That likely means Durant and Aldridge will be back on the court for Thursday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Thursday could be the first time Durant and James Harden have been on the court with one another since Dec. 10 in Atlanta.
Harden had been out due to COVID since Dec. 14 and returned on Saturday in Los Angeles.
Irving will likely be a bit longer before he appears in his first game for Brooklyn. Irving is only eligible to play in road games because of New York City’s vaccine mandate and with only a handful of games on the road coming up, Irving’s first game back in a Nets jersey is limited.
Nash is also anticipating a one to a two-week timetable for Irving to ramp up to game shape.
“He’s been working out,” Nash said on Monday. “I’d imagine it’d be closer to two weeks once he comes out of protocol. We’ll just have to see how it goes though because we have to evaluate him from a physical and performance standpoint, and then a basketball standpoint as well.”
Brooklyn will play seven of their next nine games at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.