Kyrie Irving 'Looks Great' After Returning to Nets Practice, Steve Nash Says

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 1, 2022

NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 01: Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets attends a game between the Villanova Wildcats and Seton Hall Pirates at Prudential Center on January 1, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. Villanova defeated Seton Hall 73-67. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash provided an update to reporters on point guard Kyrie Irving when asked about the seven-time All-Star's ramp-up to make his 2021-22 season debut after he previously entered the NBA's health-and-safety protocols on Dec. 18.

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Steve Nash on Kyrie Irving's ramp-up from COVID protocols:<br><br>"For him to come out of [isolation] and to look as good as he has playing with the stay ready group and getting his rhythm back is exciting." <a href="https://t.co/5JI2yFSZh9">pic.twitter.com/5JI2yFSZh9</a>

"He looks great considering he was in isolation for ... 10-plus days," Nash said. "For him to come out of that and to look as good as he has playing with the stay-ready group and getting his rhythm back has been exciting.

"But I don't want to diminish the transition is still different from playing informal kind of stay-ready group games rather than playing NBA games with schemes and set and adapting to everything, refereeing and opposition, different opposition, all that stuff.

"We have to give him time to really get his feet under him, but as far as how he looks, he looks very gifted."

Irving has not played this year after choosing not to get vaccinated against COVID-19. That made him ineligible to play games in New York, and the Nets decided to sit Irving full-time instead of keeping him on a part-time basis for games he could play on the road as an unvaccinated player.

However, a rash of injuries and players entering the league's health and safety protocols led to the Nets changing their stance.

Irving's first opportunity to return will be on Wednesday at the Indiana Pacers. If he is not ready, then his next chance would be Jan. 12 against the Chicago Bulls. The Nets then have a four-game road trip beginning Jan. 17 at the Cleveland Cavaliers.