Nets' Kevin Durant Pulled from Raptors Game Due to NBA Health, Safety Protocols

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2021

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) looks on against the Miami Heat during an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, in New York. The Nets won 98-85. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant was pulled from Friday's game against the Toronto Raptors and ruled out for the remainder of the contest due to the NBA's health and safety protocols, the team announced

Durant was initially pulled from the starting lineup right before tipoff to undergo contact tracing, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Malika Andrews, but he was later cleared to play and entered the game late in the first quarter. 

Durant was then ordered to exit midway through the third quarter "at the direction of the league," according to Andrews

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

This appears to be the moment KD learned he would be out the rest of the game due to health and safety protocols. https://t.co/KGJan8mFNr

Durant tweeted "free me" in a sign of frustration after he was instructed to leave the floor. 

The NBA issued the following statement detailing what led to Durant's removal from the game:

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Statement from NBA on Kevin Durant situation: https://t.co/S6XvLUhAH2

According to Wojnarowski, Durant will not make the trip to Philadelphia for Saturday's game against the 76ers. All other Nets players have been cleared to travel. 

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

The NBA will start to do the work on how much time and in what proximity Durant was to the associate who tested positive for the coronavirus. That'll help determine how long he has to stay in the health and safety protocol. He missed four games a month ago in contact tracing.

Durant, who previously tested positive for COVID-19, has quickly returned to his prior MVP-level form after missing the entire 2019-20 season, his first year with the Nets, while recovering from a ruptured Achilles suffered during the 2019 NBA Finals. He's averaged 30.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists in 17 games so far this season.

Brooklyn, which solidified its standing as a top-tier title contender with the blockbuster trade acquisition of James Harden from the Houston Rockets, has been playing it safe with the 32-year-old University of Texas product. He's received occasional nights off for maintenance and recovery.