Kevin Durant is 8th.  Brooklyn Nets player entering NBA health and safety protocols

Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant has entered NBA health and safety protocols.

Durant becomes the eighth Nets player to enter the protocols. Forward Paul Millsap entered protocols Monday, and forwards LaMarcus Aldridge, James Johnson and DeAndre ‘Bembry and guard Jevon Carter followed Tuesday morning. They were joined Tuesday night by James Harden and Bruce Brown.

The Nets’ COVID-19 concerns and desire to reduce Durant’s considerable workload has prompted the Nets to bring Kyrie Irving back. However, Irving will only rejoin the team in a part-time role. Due to his unvaccinated status and New York City’s immunization mandate, Irving can only play in Brooklyn’s away games in cities that do not have similar mandates. There are 24 such games remaining on the Nets’ regular season schedule, but Irving must first have negative COVID tests on five consecutive days before he can return with the team.

Brooklyn had already planned for Durant to stay out of Saturday’s game against Orlando to rest his injured right ankle. The league’s leading scorer at 29.7 points per game, During also ranks among the league leaders in minutes per game at 37.0, the most minutes per game Durant has averaged in eight years, since he averaged 38.5 minutes per night during the 2013-14 season.

This isn’t the first time Durant has been in league protocols for COVID-19. He tested positive in March 2020 during the season in which he did not play while recovering from an Achilles tendon rupture. Last season he was considered a close contact of another person who had tested positive and had to miss four games while he was placed in quarantine for seven days.