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Durant becomes 8th Net to enter COVID protocol

Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

Durant becomes the eighth Nets player to enter the protocols. Forward Paul Millsap entered the protocols Monday and was followed by forwards LaMarcus Aldridge, James Johnson and DeAndre’ Bembry and guard Jevon Carter on Tuesday morning. They were joined Tuesday evening by James Harden and Bruce Brown.

COVID-19 concerns and the desire to pare back Durant’s hefty workload have led the Nets to bring back Kyrie Irving. However, Irving will rejoin the team only in a part-time role. Because of his unvaccinated status and New York City’s vaccine mandate, Irving can play only in Brooklyn’s road games in cities that do not have similar mandates. There are 24 such games remaining on the Nets’ regular-season schedule, but Irving must first return negative COVID-19 tests on five consecutive days before he can be back with the team.

Brooklyn had already planned to sit Durant for Saturday’s game against the Orlando Magic to rest his sore right ankle. The league’s top scorer at 29.7 points per game, Durant also is among the league leaders in minutes per game at 37.0, the most minutes he has averaged in eight years, since he averaged 38.5 minutes per game during the 2013-14 season.

This is not the first time Durant has been in the league’s protocols for COVID-19. He tested positive in March 2020 during the season he sat out while recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon. Last season, he was deemed to be a close contact of someone who had tested positive and had to miss four games while he was placed in a seven-day quarantine.

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