Kyrie Irving did not travel with the team to Philadelphia for Monday’s preseason game against the Sixers. Irving, who has yet to play for Brooklyn in the preseason, was left in Brooklyn, officially listed as “Irving (not with team) - OUT.”
Steve Nash, said the decision to leave Irving at home was about the uncertainty of Irving’s situation, that the team is still figuring things out as new details and developments, not further described, arise. So, the team will be taking its time. There was speculation that Irving may have stayed behind to improve his conditioning because until Friday he wasn’t permitted to join his teammates in practice at HSS Training Center.
“We’re just trying to navigate this thing. We don’t really know what’s going to happen tomorrow so I think really we’re just trying to take our time and figure out what everything means,” said Nash. “New information seems to come in every week. More than anything, we're in that process of trying to navigate not only the information, the parameters, but also what’s coming down the line, how it looks and feels, what we can do to make this work and all those things. That’s all.”
Nash didn’t provide any further details.
Irving, who is presumed unvaccinated, could miss more than half of the regular season due to vaccination mandates in New York. The Nets guard is able to practice in Brooklyn with his teammates after the city ruled that HSS Training Center was a “private office building” and thus not covered the city’s protocols.
When Nash was asked about whether Irving’s role would be reduced because he could miss so many games, the Nets head coach reiterated how nothing with the unique situation the team and Irving find themselves in.
“I don’t know. Maybe that presents itself somewhere down the line but I wouldn’t imagine so. If he’s out there, he’s out there. This is all stuff we have to figure out. Like I keep saying, navigate because it’s kinda unprecedented,” Nash said. “We’re just trying to take our time and not rush into any preconceived judgements of what we’re doing and figure it out as we go.”
Brooklyn has one remaining preseason game, vs the Timberwolves at Barclays Center on Thursday, before flying to Milwaukee to play the Bucks — the season opener — on Tuesday, October 19. Irving will not be able to play against the T’Wolves if things remain unchanged.