Kyrie Irving says he knew the ramifications of his refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before the season, given New York City’s vaccine mandate and the Brooklyn Nets’ threat to ban him from practices and road games,  but admits he still wasn’t prepared for his three-month exile away from the team. 

‘I knew the consequences,’ he told reporters on Wednesday following his first practice of the season after the Nets reversed their ban on December 17. ‘I wasn’t prepared for them, by no stretch of the imagination.

‘Coming into the season, I had my thought process of being able to be a full-time teammate and just go out and have fun and provide a great brand of basketball out there. But unfortunately, it didn’t happen like that.’

The unvaccinated 29-year-old has been barred from playing home games in Brooklyn or road games at Madison Square Garden this season due to New York City’s vaccine mandate. He was also prohibited by the Nets from practicing or playing road games because the team didn’t want to be forced to rely on any part-time players.

However, the first-place Nets (23-9) are just overcoming a massive coronavirus outbreak involving 10 players, which is what prompted general manager Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash to recall Irving earlier this month.

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Kyrie Irving attended his first Nets practice of the season on Wednesday after the team lifted his ban on December 17 amid a 10-player COVID-19 outbreak

Kyrie Irving attended his first Nets practice of the season on Wednesday after the team lifted his ban on December 17 amid a 10-player COVID-19 outbreak

Kyrie Irving attended his first Nets practice of the season on Wednesday after the team lifted his ban on December 17 amid a 10-player COVID-19 outbreak

Irving pictured practicing at the HSS Training Center in Brooklyn

Irving pictured practicing at the HSS Training Center in Brooklyn

The unvaccinated 29-year-old has been barred from playing home games in Brooklyn or road games at Madison Square Garden this season due to New York City's vaccine mandate. He was also prohibited by the Nets from practicing or playing road games because the team didn't want to be forced to rely on part-time players. The Nets are just overcoming a massive team outbreak involving 10 players, which is what prompted general manager Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash to recall Irving earlier this month

The unvaccinated 29-year-old has been barred from playing home games in Brooklyn or road games at Madison Square Garden this season due to New York City's vaccine mandate. He was also prohibited by the Nets from practicing or playing road games because the team didn't want to be forced to rely on part-time players. The Nets are just overcoming a massive team outbreak involving 10 players, which is what prompted general manager Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash to recall Irving earlier this month

Irving pictured practicing at the HSS Training Center in Brooklyn. The unvaccinated 29-year-old has been barred from playing home games in Brooklyn or road games at Madison Square Garden this season due to New York City’s vaccine mandate. He was also prohibited by the Nets from practicing or playing road games because the team didn’t want to be forced to rely on part-time players. The Nets are just overcoming a massive team outbreak involving 10 players, which is what prompted general manager Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash to recall Irving earlier this month

He could make his season debut as soon as January 5 against the Pacers in Indiana provided Irving can get himself into basketball shape after being forced to enter the NBA’s health and safety protocol last week. It’s not known if Irving tested positive for COVID-19 or if he was found to be a close contact of someone who was.

It also remains unclear if Irving still objects to receiving the vaccine — an issue that could have significant ramifications in the playoffs. 

Irving, along with fellow All-Stars James harden and Kevin Durant, is expected to help the Nets challenge for the first NBA title in franchise history. (The New York Nets did win a pair of ABA crowns in 1974 and 1976 before merging into the NBA and moving to New Jersey in 1977 and, ultimately, Brooklyn in 2012)

Last week, Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal received a COVID-19 vaccine after being one of the NBA’s most notable holdouts at the beginning of the season. Currently around 97 percent of NBA players are vaccinated, according to the league, which recently cut isolation times for infected, vaccinated players from 10 days to six. 

Irving, along with fellow All-Stars James harden and Kevin Durant (pictured), is expected to help the Nets challenge for the first NBA title in franchise history. (The New York Nets did win a pair of ABA crowns in 1974 and 1976 before merging into the NBA and moving to New Jersey in 1977 and, ultimately, Brooklyn in 2012)

Irving, along with fellow All-Stars James harden and Kevin Durant (pictured), is expected to help the Nets challenge for the first NBA title in franchise history. (The New York Nets did win a pair of ABA crowns in 1974 and 1976 before merging into the NBA and moving to New Jersey in 1977 and, ultimately, Brooklyn in 2012)

Nets star James Harden

Nets star James Harden

Irving, along with fellow All-Stars James harden (right) and Kevin Durant (left), is expected to help the Nets challenge for the first NBA title in franchise history. (The New York Nets did win a pair of ABA crowns in 1974 and 1976 before merging into the NBA and moving to New Jersey in 1977 and, ultimately, Brooklyn in 2012)

Irving said he’s been staying active by playing in pickup games at local schools, and also admitted that he struggled to sleep in anticipation of Wednesday’s practice.

‘Last night I could barely sleep,’ Irving said. ‘I’m like, man, I just don’t want to come out and not be who I know I am as a player. … heart racing and just not being nervous and touching the basketball again, and just the rhythm of the game. I missed it.’

The good news for Nets fans is that Irving did look polished in his first practice of the season.

‘He looks great considering he just came out of protocols and hasn’t played basketball,’ Nash told reporters. ‘How does he recover from today? How many high-intensity does he need to feel comfortable, confident from a personal standpoint? … I couldn’t give you an answer.’ 

The good news for Nets fans is that Irving did look polished in his first practice of the season. 'He looks great considering he just came out of protocols and hasn't played basketball,' Nash (pictured) said. 'How does he recover from today? How many high-intensity does he need to feel comfortable, confident from a personal standpoint? ... I couldn't give you an answer'

The good news for Nets fans is that Irving did look polished in his first practice of the season. 'He looks great considering he just came out of protocols and hasn't played basketball,' Nash (pictured) said. 'How does he recover from today? How many high-intensity does he need to feel comfortable, confident from a personal standpoint? ... I couldn't give you an answer'

The good news for Nets fans is that Irving did look polished in his first practice of the season. ‘He looks great considering he just came out of protocols and hasn’t played basketball,’ Nash (pictured) said. ‘How does he recover from today? How many high-intensity does he need to feel comfortable, confident from a personal standpoint? … I couldn’t give you an answer’

Source: dailymail

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