At long last, the Brooklyn Nets appear to be getting their third star back on an NBA court.
Kyrie Irving is expected to make his season debut Wednesday night when the Nets take on the Pacers in Indiana, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
The Nets announced before the season that they would not allow Irving, who is not vaccinated against COVID-19, to join the team until he was eligible to be a full participant under New York City’s vaccination guidelines. The team then let Irving return to the team in December as a part-time player, where he could participate in road games outside of New York City. The decision was made as Brooklyn dealt with a COVID-19 outbreak within the team.
One day after he returned to the team, Irving swiftly entered NBA health and safety protocols. At the time, he was the ninth Nets player in protocols. The Nets’ outbreak led to 10 players being in protocols at one point and three game postponements. Irving cleared protocols on Dec. 28.
While Irving reportedly will take the floor on Wednesday, the Nets still have a Monday night contest against the Memphis Grizzlies. That game will take place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the Nets’ home venue where Irving is still not permitted to play.
The Nets are in second place in the Eastern Conference with a 23-11 record. After Wednesday’s game against the Pacers, the Nets return home for matchups against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday and the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday. They then hit the road for a contest against the first-place Chicago Bulls on Wednesday, Jan. 12.