Kyrie Irving Says Kevin Durant's Injury Won't Change Decision over Vaccination Status

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 17, 2022

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JANUARY 12: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets walks backcourt during a game against the Chicago Bulls at United Center on January 12, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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The Brooklyn Nets will be without Kevin Durant for a significant amount of time after he suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, but that apparently won't impact Kyrie Irving's decision-making when it comes to getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

Brian Lewis of the New York Post asked Irving if he would reconsider given Durant's injury since the Nets will be even more short-handed because he cannot play home games, but the point guard said he will not.

Irving told reporters he was "standing strong" and "rooted in my decision."

As for Durant, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the team is optimistic he will be sidelined four to six weeks.

Brooklyn surely envisioned Durant, James Harden and Irving teaming up this season and dominating the Eastern Conference as three of the best players in the league, but that has been far from the case even though the team is experiencing on-court success.

Irving is ineligible to play home games because he refuses to comply with New York City's COVID-19 mandate, and the Nets originally told him he cannot play road games either because they did not want him as just a part-time player.

However, they relented on that stance as depth became an issue because of injuries and players going into health and safety protocols.

The seven-time All-Star made his season debut during a Jan. 5 victory over the Indiana Pacers and played his fourth game of the campaign Monday against his former team in the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Yet 27 points, nine assists and seven rebounds from Irving to go with 22 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds from Harden were not enough in a 114-107 loss. The Nets missed Durant's presence considering he has played at an MVP level for much of the campaign and will be even more reliant on role players when they return home given Irving's status.

The loss to Cleveland was the first of a four-game road trip, so Brooklyn's next home game won't be until Jan. 25 against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Don't expect Irving to suddenly change course and be eligible for that game given his recent comments.