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Kyrie Irving’s return is looming: ‘I think he’s on his way. It’s getting close’

Wagner v Seton Hall Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Kyrie Irving is inching closer to his return.

Prior to Saturday’s game against the Clippers, Steve Nash said Irving has looked “great and gifted” in ramping up with the “stay-ready” group at HSS Training Center after returning to the team first from his banishment then from the league’s health and safety protocols.

“He looks great considering he was in isolation for however many days: 10+ days I think. For him to come out of that and look as good as he has playing with the stay-ready group and getting his rhythm back has been exciting,” said Nash.

“I don't want to diminish the transition. It’s still different from playing informal ‘stay-ready’ group games instead of playing NBA games with schemes, sets and adapting to everything: refereeing, different opposition, and all that stuff,” Nash added. “We have to give him time to really get his feet under him but as far as how he looks, he looks very gifted.”

When asked whether it’s a matter of the Nets guard approaching the coaching staff to say he’s ready to return, the Nets head coach said any decision will be mutual.

“I think he’s on his way. It’s getting close,” said Nash. “We just got to make sure that we don’t make a hasty decision, but it’s coming.”

The timeline for Irving’s ramp-up was listed as closer to two weeks by the Nets head coach following the guard clearing protocols. Irving is only eligible to play in the remaining 22 road contests for Brooklyn. The next road game for Brooklyn is Wednesday, January 5, against the Pacers in Indiana. After that, it would have to be the Bulls in Chicago a week later on January 12.

Meanwhile, Irving was in what has now become his customary place courtside for Seton Hall games at the Prudential Center in Newark.

And whatever hope fans might have harbored that new mayor Eric Adams might relent on regulations covering indoor venues evaporated when in his first hours at City Hall, Adams renewed them.