Durant becomes the eighth Nets player to enter the protocols. Forward Paul Millsap entered the protocols Monday, and was followed by forwards LaMarcus Aldridge, James Johnson and DeAndre’ Bembry and guard Jevon Carter on Tuesday morning. They were later joined Tuesday evening by James Harden and Bruce Brown.
The Nets’ COVID-19 concerns and the desire to pare back Durant’s hefty workload has led the Nets to bring back Kyrie Irving. However, Irving will only rejoin the team in a part-time role. Due to his unvaccinated status and New York City’s vaccine mandate, Irving can only play in Brooklyn’s road games in cities that do not have similar mandates. There are 24 such games remaining on the Nets’ regular season schedule, but Irving must first return negative COVID tests on five consecutive days before he can be back with the Nets.
Brooklyn had already planned to sit Durant for Saturday’s game against Orlando to rest his sore right ankle. The league’s top scorer at 29.7 points per game, Durant is also among the league leaders in minutes per game at 37.0, the most minutes per game Durant has averaged in eight years, since he averaged 38.5 minutes per night during the 2013-14 season.