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Report: Kyrie Irving took a mental-health day in missing Nets-76ers

Nets star Kyrie Irving

BROOKLYN, NY - JANUARY 5: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on during the game against the Utah Jazz on January 5, 2021 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Kyrie Irving missed the Nets’ win over the 76ers last night due to personal reasons. Brooklyn coach Steve Nash said before the game he hadn’t spoken to the point guard and didn’t know the reason for the absence.

Brandon Robinson of Heavy:

Joe Vardon of The Athletic:

A source close to him said Irving is “OK,” but could not say when he might return to the court
Nash, twice proclaiming to not know at all why Irving wasn’t there, was odd. Before the game, Nash said he’d reached out to Irving but hadn’t heard back, and after the game, they still hadn’t connected. The Nets are generally aware of why Irving didn’t play, I’m told, and someone relayed the reason to Nash.

Remember, Robinson reported last season Irving would miss 2-3 more weeks with thoracic bursitis. The Nets denied that report. Then, Irving missed two-and-a-half more weeks with bursitis. Consider that when evaluating Robinson’s reporting on Irving.

With everything happening, it’s hard to concentrate on basketball. I wouldn’t begrudge Irving one bit for taking a mental-health day. Many people probably wish they had that luxury in their jobs. More should. Beyond just directly helping people’s wellness, it’d increase their long-term productivity.

If Irving didn’t communicate clearly with the team, that’s obviously not ideal. There’s a history with him that raises antennas. But if he deeply needed a mental-health day, he might also deserve some tolerance for not handling it in the most responsible manner.

There’s still plenty to sort out – maybe publicly, maybe privately. In the meantime, there’s room for compassion and benefit of the doubt.