The Brooklyn Nets will play their second game of at least three without the services of Kevin Durant on Thursday night as they host the Sixers, as the star forward is in COVID-19 protocols due to being a close contact of someone who tested positive — Durant announced back in March he had tested positive, but still has to return seven consecutive negative tests under league rules.
Brooklyn throttled the Jazz on Tuesday in their first Durant-less game, but the challenge against Philadelphia, which holds the league’s best record, will be even more difficult than anticipated as they will likewise be without Kyrie Irving (who led the team with 29 points on Tuesday). Irving was a surprise addition to the injury report, as he is simply listed as out due to personal reasons.
Nets @HSpecialSurgery Status Report for tonight:
Claxton (right knee tendinopathy) – OUT
Durant (health and safety protocols) – OUT
Dinwiddie (partially torn ACL, right knee) – OUT
Irving (personal reasons) – OUT
Perry (left groin soreness) – OUT
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 7, 2021
Steve Nash was asked about Irving’s absence in his pregame media availability and said he had just found out about Irving not being available and had not yet gotten a reply from the star point guard.
— Brian Lewis (@NYPost_Lewis) January 7, 2021
Hopefully everything is OK with Irving and his family, as that’s the most important concern in this instance. From a basketball perspective it’s obviously a significant loss for the Nets going up against a fellow top team in the East. Nash has been pretty adamant about keeping Caris LeVert with the second unit even after losing Spencer Dinwiddie and on Tuesday against the Jazz, but it’s possible that without Irving or Durant he gets moved into the starting group — Bruce Brown got the start next to Irving against Utah.