Nets guard Kyrie Irving, who hasn’t appeared in a game since January 5, returned to practice on Tuesday and is expected to be back in action on Wednesday when Brooklyn takes on the Cavaliers, head coach Steve Nash told reporters today (Twitter link via Ian Begley of SNY.tv).
Irving was required to quarantine for several days after violating the NBA’s health and safety protocols, and more recently has been going through workouts in an effort to get his conditioning level back to 100%. Before that, he had been away from the team on personal leave.
Asked today about his absence, the star point guard declined to go into much detail, telling the media – including Malika Andrews of ESPN (Twitter link) – that he’s had “a lot of family and personal stuff” going on during the last two weeks.
“I’m happy to be back, I’m happy to be with these guys,” Irving said, per Adam Zagoria of Forbes (Twitter link). “I addressed the team and ready to move on.”
Irving also apologized to the fans he disappointed by not playing, explaining that he “just needed a pause,” according to Andrews (Twitter link). He added that he’s excited about joining the Nets’ new-look lineup alongside James Harden, and is looking forward to letting his “game speak for itself.”
Assuming Irving returns to the court on Wednesday, it’ll be the first time we see Brooklyn’s new Big Three (Irving, Harden, and Kevin Durant) in action, as well as the first time Kyrie has played a game in Cleveland since October 17, 2017, as Marc Stein of The New York Times notes (Twitter link). A longtime Cavalier, Irving played in his first game for the Celtics on that date over three years ago.