Irving misses 1st practice after Nets return to New York

NBA Basketball

NEW YORK (AP)Kyrie Irving didn’t practice with the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, again remaining away from the team amid questions about his availability to play in New York because of the city’s vaccine mandate.

Coach Steve Nash said he had no further update about the status of his All-Star guard.

”We support him, we’re here for him. When things change and there’s a resolution, we’re here for him,” Nash said.

Irving hasn’t said if he has been vaccinated against COVID-19, asking for privacy when pressed about his status during the team’s media day on Sept. 27. He wasn’t with his teammates that day at Barclays Center, instead appearing via Zoom.

New York has a mandate requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for athletes who play in or practice in the city.

The Nets held training camp last week in San Diego, with Irving present and practicing, and they ran their first practice at their training facility in Brooklyn on Tuesday with everyone except Irving.

Nash said he wasn’t concerned about not being able to have his full team together, two weeks before the Nets play the NBA’s season-opening game at the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks.

”We’re just trying to work every day,” Nash said. ”So we came in today and had a great practice and we’ll do the same tomorrow and that’s kind of where I’ll leave it.”

The NBA doesn’t require players to be vaccinated, but those who aren’t face frequent coronavirus testing and severe restrictions on their activities. Players in New York and San Francisco, which has a similar mandate soon going into effect, won’t be paid for the games they miss.

The New York Knicks have said their entire team is vaccinated and Andrew Wigginsrecently became the last of the Golden State Warriors to get a shot, leaving Irving as the lone player potentially facing a pay cut for virus reasons.

Nash frequently pointed to a lack of practice time last season as a problem for the Nets, with the condensed schedule and coronavirus testing forcing them instead to often opt for rest when they could get it.

He said the team won’t consider holding practice outside the city, even if it would ensure the entire roster would be available.

”No, this is our home and this is where we’re going to practice and we have almost the whole group,” Nash said. ”So that’s a positive and we’re just working at getting better every day and focusing on the things we can control.”

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