11:51am: Irving has now been placed in the league’s health and safety protocols, making him the ninth Nets player on the list.
According to Kristian Winfield of The New York Daily News (Twitter link), the typical testing process for Irving to rejoin the team wouldn’t have required him to be entered into the protocols, so he registered either a positive or inconclusive test.
Irving needs five consecutive days of negative tests to join the team for practices, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.
Durant has tested positive on multiple occasions over the past two years. He had his own bout with the virus shortly after the pandemic struck. He missed three games last January after testing positive and missed three more in February after being deemed a close contact.
Durant has been playing at an MVP level, carrying the team through its current COVID crisis. He’s averaging 33.1 PPG, 9.0 RPG and 6.7 APG this month for a team currently on a four-game winning streak.
Brooklyn, which has the Eastern Conference’s top record, also has seven other players on the protocols list. That group includes LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre’ Bembry, Bruce Brown, Jevon Carter, James Harden, James Johnson and Paul Millsap.
The Nets have been scrambling to have enough players in uniform. They announced on Saturday that James Ennis and Shaquille Harrison have been signed to 10-day contracts using the hardship exemption. Langston Galloway was previous signed under the same conditions.