Irving could join Nets at practice after ruling from city

National Sports

FILE – Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) shoots against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series in New York, in this Saturday, June 5, 2021, file photo. Players like Kyrie Irving, who has refused to say if he will be vaccinated against COVID-19, will be subject to testing on all NBA practice, travel and game days this season. Fully vaccinated players will not. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Kyrie Irving could join the Brooklyn Nets at practice this weekend after a ruling that their practice facility doesn’t fall under a New York coronavirus vaccination mandate.

The Nets were told Friday that the training center is considered a private facility. The city’s vaccine mandate requires pro athletes practicing or playing in public venues to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Irving still wouldn’t be able to play in home games if he doesn’t meet the vaccination requirement, but at least he can be with the Nets when they are practicing at home.

“My first kind of thought is that it’s positive,” coach Steve Nash said. “We have him around the team for a larger period of our season.”

Irving was listed as ineligible for the Nets’ exhibition home opener Friday against Milwaukee. But Nash said it was likely that the All-Star guard could be at their outdoor practice Saturday at Brooklyn Bridge Park and Sunday inside their facility was “hopefully even more likely.”

He doesn’t know if Irving will play Monday at Philadelphia because he hasn’t practiced since the Nets returned from training camp in San Diego last Sunday. But having Irving able to practice increases the chances he could be ready to play when the Nets visit the Bucks on Oct. 19 in the NBA season opener.

But Nash didn’t want to think that far ahead.

“This rule just came in. Is another one coming?” Nash said. “Is he going to be allowed to play at home at some point? Is he not going to be able to practice in our facility at some point?

“We’re just following kind of the latest and I don’t think that anyone’s really been through this before. Obviously the pandemic has been new to everyone but now we’re in a position where the pandemic’s creating all these different new scenarios as well.”

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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