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(BBC SPORT) The Brooklyn Nets will let Kyrie Irving return to action, despite previously saying he could not do so until he had been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Irving has refused to be vaccinated but the Nets now say he can take part in “games and practices in which he is eligible”.
The 29-year-old will not be able play in home games because rules in New York require players to be vaccinated. Irving will also have to miss away games where you need to be immunised.
Nets general manager Sean Marks said the decision was made “after discussions with our coaches, players and staff”. Irving is a seven-time All-Star who played in 54 regular-season games for the Nets last season but he has not played in the current campaign which began in October. He will be required to be tested on a daily basis on his return and will be unavailable for home games, those against the New York Knicks and when playing in Toronto.
“We arrived at this decision with the full support of our players and after careful consideration of our current circumstances, including players missing games due to injuries and health and safety protocols,” added Marks.
“The addition of Kyrie will not only make us a better team but allow us to balance the physical demand on the entire roster.
“We look forward to Kyrie’s return to the line-up, as well as getting our entire roster back together on the court.” Stricter coronavirus protocols will be introduced in the NBA after a surge of positive cases, with Covid-19 outbreaks among the Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings.
Warriors win as Lakers lose
In the action on the court, Stephen Curry scored 30 points to help the Golden State Warriors to a 111-107 win over the Boston Celtics.
The Warriors led by 20 points during one stage of the match but held on against a Celtics side missing Al Horford, Grant Williams, Jabari Parker, Juancho Hernangomez and Sam Hauser because of the NBA’s Covid-19 measures.
LeBron James scored 18 points for the Los Angeles Lakers in a 110-92 defeat by the Minnesota Timberwolves, while Lonnie Walker IV scored a dramatic basket with 14.9 seconds left as the San Antonio Spurs beat the Utah Jazz 128-126.
The Milwaukee Bucks were without star player Giannis Antetokounmpo because of health and safety protocols and, despite Jrue Holiday scoring a career-high 40 points, they lost 116-112 to the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Miami Heat beat the Orlando Magic 115-105, the Denver Nuggests were 133-115 victors against the Atlanta Hawks. The Charlotte Hornets lost 125-116 to the Portland Trail Blazers and the Memphis Grizzlies won 124-105 against the Sacramento Kings.