The Brooklyn Nets need a bounce-back victory after LaMarcus Aldridge and the interior frontcourt were decimated by the Los Angeles Lakers, but it appears as though they’ll have to pick up that win without the services of both Kyrie Irving and James Harden.
Harden has been hampered with a hamstring injury over the last week, and Brooklyn is clearly taking a very cautious approach with him after they accidentally reaggravated the injury by rushing him back before he was healed up. Irving is fine physically, but he doesn’t appear to be in the right state of mind to suit up Monday night.
Irving, who took an extended absence in the early parts of the season that saw him miss several weeks, is taking some more time off from the Nets, prioritizing his off-court well-being over one largely inconsequential game in April.
The Nets claimed that in addition to Harden still missing time with his hamstring strain and Aldridge missing their next contest due to a non-COVID-19 illness, Irving, who recently became a father once again, is taking a day off instead of playing against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Rather than more mockery about how he is playing when he feels like it, Irving should be allowed the space to get his ducks in a row off of the court.
Kyrie Irving taking days off from the Brooklyn Nets isn’t a huge deal
In an age where mental health is being prioritized more than ever, Irving, averaging 27.6 points per game this season, deciding to have the “audacity” to sit out one or a handful of games to make sure that he isn’t completely discombobulated by the rigors of playing in the NBA at such a high level should be praised, not scorned or mocked.
Taking mental health days and time off to observe religious holidays, which is more relevant now due to the fact it is the first day of Ramadan, should become a more widely accepted thing to do. And no, despite what the talking heads say, this has no bearing on Irving’s drive to win games or character as a human being, since that is what these conversations always devolve into.
Irving has proven to be a very socially conscious, philanthropic guy during his pro career given how many pots he’s dipped his fingers in. If he needs one day of PTO in order to make sure he’s all squared away, will fans really be upset at the fact that he didn’t suit up against a team like Minnesota?
When Irving has played this season, he’s been totally locked in. A title is still clearly on his mind, and he’ll be back and ready when the Nets have a must-win game on the ledger. In the meantime, Irving should feel comfortable with taking as many personal days as he needs to make sure his off-court life is totally squared away.