After months of deliberation and changed decisions, Kyrie Irving will reportedly make his season debut for the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday in a road game against the Indiana Pacers.
Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving is expected to make his season debut Wednesday on the road against the Indiana Pacers, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. After missing the Nets’ first 35 games of the season, Irving has targeted Wednesday for his return.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 3, 2022
The Nets initially would not allow the point guard to play until he got vaccinated against COVID-19, but reversed course last month in the wake of multiple players testing positive. His debut was postponed after Irving himself, who is still unvaccinated, tested positive.
Irving said at the beginning of the season that he "respected" the Nets' decision to not allow him to participate, although that apparently didn't change his mind about getting inoculated in order to play in home games this season.
"I really had to sit back and think and try not to become too emotionally attached to what they were deciding to do," he said, via ESPN. "I had to really evaluate things and see it from their perspective, meaning the organization, my teammates. I really empathized and I understood their choice to say if you are not going to be fully vaccinated, then you can't be a full [participant]."
Meanwhile, Brooklyn's opponent for Wednesday's game is dealing with its own COVID-19 outbreak.
Indiana Pacers Caris LeVert, Goga Bitadze and TJ Warren have entered the league’s health and safety protocols, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 2, 2022
Warren has yet to play this season amid rehab for an injury. Pacers already have Malcolm Brogdon, Isaiah Jackson, Chris Duarte, Jeremy Lamb and Kelan Martin in protocols.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 2, 2022