Kyrie Irving returns to training for the Nets after NYC issues mandate changes
The Nets' star faces a complicated future where games are concerned but can now train with his team once again.
The star point guard may be about to return to training, but where official games are concerned he still has a long way to go.
Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving returns to training
Kyrie Irving is set to return to training with the Brooklyn Nets at their New York facility. According to ESPN, the news comes after the city declared the Nets' training facility a "private office building" and not an indoor gym. Irving, however, will still be barred from playing in home games due to the covid-19 vaccine mandate.
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Head coach Steve Nash was hopeful when questioned about Irving ahead of their preseason game against the Milwaukee Bucks. "It sounds like we may have Kyrie on the road with us, but I'm not sure he'll be playing, since we haven't seen him for a week, and obviously safety first," Nash said. Friday night's preseason game in Brooklyn against the Milwaukee Bucks, marks the first that Irving was sidelined as a result of the mandate. Nash added, "Not going to have a huge risk of injury, but a lot to be worked through. We're just getting information at the same time you guys are, so we'll see [what happens]."
The reality of New York's vaccine mandate
According to the New York City council, the vaccine mandate requires all individuals to have at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot to enter a variety of facilities including but not limited to, indoor gyms such as the Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden - the homes of the Nets and Knicks respectively. As a result of the mandate Irving, has so far not be able to train for the week. On those grounds Nash was even questioned as to as to whether or not the Nets would consider moving their practices to a different location, it was an idea that Nash quickly dismissed
Kyrie Irving will officially be able to practice in Brooklyn. pic.twitter.com/akhIgZLQAR— theScore (@theScore) October 8, 2021
Head coach Steve Nash speaks the situation
As it now stands the Nets will no long have to worry. On Friday the city ruled in favor of allowing Irving to train at their facility. Nash while positive, was still clear as to his uncertainty about the future.
"I mean, I think all I would say is my first kind of thought is that it's positive," Nash said. "We have him around the team for a larger period of our season. We'll see what happens. I don't know. This [ruling] just came in. Is there another one coming? Is he going to be allowed to play at home at some point? Is he not going to be able to practice at our facility at some point?"
"...We are just following kind of the latest, and I don't think anyone has been through this before. Obviously the pandemic has been new to everyone, but now we are in a position where the pandemic creates all these different new scenarios as well. I really don't know what to say other than it is positive that he can now rejoin his teammates at our practice center and train, and it gives us more touch points with him and we will go from there."
Questioned on Irving's availability for Monday's game, Nash agreed with the notion that it's similar to dealing with an injured player who requires progress reports "Yeah, more or less, because when someone is able to resume full activity on the court," Nash said, they still need "a certain amount of high-intensity work before you'd put them in a game. I think even if you're not injured you still have to reach those thresholds, and if you are injured once you are healthy, quote unquote, you have to reach those thresholds as well."
What does Kyrie Irving stand to lose?
While Irving can now attend training the mandate still barrs him from playing at the Barclays Center or at Madison Square Garden when the teams have to face each other. Should Irving hold firm in his stance for the duration of the season, it is as much as or more than $17 million. The NBA has made it clear that in accordance with the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, any player missing games without "reasonable cause" this season will forfeit 1/91.6th of their salary per game missed. Interestingly the NBA's Player Association has not agreed any deal with the league regarding docking of pay, even though it has been reported so.
"They've been reporting that we've agreed that if a player who was not able to play because of his non-vaccination status, they could be docked [pay]," Michele Roberts, the NBPA's executive director, told The New York Daily News earlier this week. "We did not agree. The league's position is that they can. We'll see."
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