Nets’ Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving enter COVID protocol

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Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, the NBA’s top scorer, and all-star goaltender Kyrie Irving entered NBA health and safety protocols on Saturday.

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The two became the eighth and ninth members of the Nets in COVID protocols, joining James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge, Paul Millsap, Bruce Brown, DeAndre ‘Bembry, James Johnson and Jevon Carter.

Durant took the Nets to a 21-8 record and a three-game lead over the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Eastern Conference. Over the season, he averaged 29.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game.

The 33-year-old was in tears in December. In seven games this month, he’s averaging 33.1 points, 9.0 rebounds and 6.7 assists, and he scored a record 51 points last Sunday in a 116-104 win over the Detroit Pistons.

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In his 14th season, Durant is a former league MVP, 11-time All-Star and four-time league scoring champion.

Coach Steve Nash previously said Durant would not take part in Saturday night’s game against the Orlando Magic to rest a sore right ankle.

Durant’s news comes a day after the Nets announced Irving was returning to the squad and would play in most road games.

Irving has not played this season due to his tough stance on staying unvaccinated, which has made him unavailable for about half of the team’s games.

The 29-year-old is not allowed to play at home due to New York City mandates that require players to be vaccinated. He will also not be able to play in road games against the New York Knicks, as well as in Toronto due to Ontario mandates.

Saturday’s home game against Orlando marks the first of four games in six days for the Nets, who are also set to face the Lakers in Los Angeles in a flagship game on Christmas night.

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