You can’t make this stuff up. After missing the first two months of the season due to a New York City mandate that prevented unvaccinated Kyrie Irving from participating in home games for the Brooklyn Nets, the team announced earlier this week in a change of heart that Irving would re-join the team to play exclusively in road contests.

But just as swiftly as Brooklyn decided to bring the All-Star guard back to the team, his return was delayed once again: as Irving joined a slew of Nets players in health and safety protocols on Saturday afternoon.

This doesn’t exactly mean Irving is sick with COVID-19, as he could have returned a false positive or otherwise “inconclusive” test result. As an unvaccinated player, Irving will need to test negative for five consecutive days before he can return the court.

While the Nets have gotten by just fine without Irving so far, leading the Eastern Conference at 21-8, Irving’s delay in returning to the court still doesn’t help Brooklyn. Irving is one of nine Nets players currently in health and safety protocols, including fellow All-Stars Kevin Durant and James Harden.

Assuming Saturday is Day Zero for Irving’s positive test, he could be eligible to return by December 24: just in time for a road matchup with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas Day, followed by another game in Los Angeles on December 27 against the Clippers.

If Irving’s positive tests linger into next week, a more realistic return date could be January 5 against the Indiana Pacers or January 12 against the Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn’s next two road games after the pair in Los Angeles.

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Header Photo: NBA.com

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