Nets get Harden back for Christmas as NBA grapples with COVID
Brooklyn Nets expect to be back in action on Christmas Day after the NBA postponed three of their games amid a COVID-19 surge that left them with too few players to take the floor, coach Steve Nash said Thursday.
Nash told reporters that star James Harden had been cleared to return after being sidelined by COVID concerns.
Even though fellow stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving aren’t expected back by Saturday, Nash told reporters the team planned to travel to Los Angeles for a marquee holiday clash with the Lakers.
“The plan is to fly to Los Angeles (Friday) and play Christmas,” Nash said, according to the New York Post. “We had to shut everything down just out of precaution.
“It’s tricky,” Nash acknowledged of keeping players game-ready with so many players unable to take part in team workouts. “We haven’t been able to do a lot.
“But we do what we can and we will continue to adapt as the rules and mandates come in.”
A league-high 10 Nets players landed in the health and safety protocols, including NBA scoring leader Durant and Irving — who has yet to play this season after declining to be vaccinated.
He still won’t be eligible to play home games because of New York vaccination mandates.
The NBA has already taken steps to make it easier for clubs to utilize players from developmental club rosters to fill out their lineups when numerous players are forced out of action by COVID concerns.
ESPN reported Thursday that the league and the NBA Players Association were in talks to reduce the length of quarantine for players who test positive from 10 days to six.
Currently, if a vaccinated player tests positive, he must quarantine for 10 days or provide two negative tests at least 24 hours apart.
Those rules could be adjusted for vaccinated players who test positive but are asymptomatic.
In all, the NBA has postponed nine games because of COVID, although commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday the league was not considering a pause in the season.