Durant eligible to rejoin Nets on Friday, Nash says

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NEW YORK — Kevin Durant will be ineligible to play in the Nets’ next three games after he drove with a team employee who tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, sources told ESPN.

Durant will be eligible to rejoin the team on Friday, Feb. 12, coach Steve Nash said on Saturday.

The NBA’s health and safety protocols say that any player who was exposed to someone with coronavirus must quarantine for six days.

The Nets will be without Durant for a string of games beginning on Saturday against Philadelphia. He will also miss games against the Pistons on Tuesday and the Pacers on Wednesday.

If Durant continues to test negative for coronavirus, he will be eligible to return against his former team, the Golden State Warriors, on Feb. 13.

Durant was in a car with the team employee who tested positive three separate times, maskless, on Feb. 5, sources told ESPN. The Nets star drove to the practice facility for testing, home from testing and to the game with the employee.

After Durant arrived at the game on Friday, the associate returned an inconclusive COVID-19 test. Minutes before tipoff, Durant was pulled from the starting lineup. He returned midway through the first quarter. In the third quarter, during a time out, a Nets staff member came over to Durant and seemed to tell Durant that he was ineligible to finish the game.

Durant played 19 minutes before exiting.

All other Nets players and staff members continue to test negative for the coronavirus. The Raptors have not returned any positive tests, sources told ESPN.

Durant, who had COVID-19 in May, has continued to register coronavirus antibodies and tested negative for the virus seven times over the last three days, sources said.

The NBA’s COVID-19 protocols do not differentiate between players who have antibodies and those who do not.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibodies are “proteins that help fight off infections and can provide protection against getting that disease again.” Scientists are still unsure what degree of immunity antibodies provide against being infected again.

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