While it may have seemed like a dream at first, it’s becoming more realistic by the day. Kyrie Irving practiced with the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday and spoke with the media for the first time since Sept. 27.
Irving, along with Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge, cleared the health and safety protocols on Tuesday. After playing with a shorthanded roster for the past two weeks, the Nets are finally starting to return to their original form.
That is, for home games. During away games, they’ll be even more difficult to stop with Irving in the lineup. Brooklyn reversed the decision that it made on Oct. 12 to allow for Irving to become a part-time player, meaning that he could play as soon as next week.
Now that Steve Nash and the Nets have an idea of the kind of condition that Irving is in, his season debut is right around the corner.
Kyrie Irving practices with the Brooklyn Nets after clearing protocols.
Irving hasn’t played in an NBA game since he injured his ankle against the Bucks in the conference semifinals on June 13. It’s safe to say that if his injury never happened, the Nets would’ve made it to the conference finals.
Brooklyn’s currently 23-9 and in first place in the Eastern Conference, and that’s been done without Irving. Even though he’ll only be able to play on the road, his presence on the court will still be a huge boost for the Nets.
It’s encouraging that given the circumstances, his conditioning hasn’t fallen to the wayside. Irving had to get creative and find new ways to stay in shape.
After practice, Irving spoke with the media for the first time in over three months.
Right off the bat, Irving addressed the Nets’ initial decision to prohibit the point guard from participating in activities as a part-time player.
He went on to say that in regards to Brooklyn’s chances of winning an NBA title, the team wants to “strike while the iron is hot.”
It’s still unclear as to when Irving will take the court for the first time during the 2021-22 season, but it could happen as soon as Jan. 5 in Indiana.
If he doesn’t play then, that means that the next opportunity will be on Jan. 12 in Chicago. That would make for an interesting matchup, considering that the Nets have lost to the Bulls twice already this year. Chicago’s 21-10 and right behind Brooklyn in the East.
The past two weeks have been a whirlwind for Nets fans, but things are starting to fall into place.
It won’t be too much longer until Irving, Durant, and James Harden share the court again.