NEW YORK (AP) — Brooklyn Nets celebrity Kevin Durant couldn’t start a match and then couldn’t finish it, eliminated in the next quarter because of the NBA’s wellbeing and safety protocols.
Durant was not available at the beginning of Friday night’s game against Toronto, finally being cleared to input from the first quarter. Once he did, it turned into his first appearance for a reserve within his 867 NBA games.
The odd situation — Durant had originally been listed in the starting lineup prior to being removed — had the Nets dealing with numerous emotions.
“Confusing, frustrating. I mean, it’s bizarre,” teammate Joe Harris stated.
James Harden wondered why the match was not postponed, since Durant had been around the players ahead.
“They just stated contract tracing and I’m thinking to myself,’Well, if it’s contact tracing, then we’re all in the locker room together. That means there is no match if he’s not going to have the ability to play,”’ Harden explained.
The questions continued well after Toronto’s 123-117 success. The Nets were cleared to travel to Philadelphia because of their game scheduled for Saturday, but Durant would not accompany them while the team awaited word on contract tracing.
He voiced his anger through social media, tweeting”Free me” and later blasting the NBA for its public relations tactics.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank said in a statement that Durant had tested negative few times in the last 24 hours, such as two negative PCR tests Friday. He said someone whom Durant interacted with at the day had an inconclusive test result return soon ahead of the match. Durant was initially held out while that outcome was being reviewed.
“Beneath the team’s health and security protocols, we don’t require a player to be quarantined before a close contact has a confirmed positive test,” Frank stated. “Throughout the game, a positive result was returned for the individual Durant interacted with. … Once that evaluation has been confirmed positive, out of an abundance of caution, Durant has been taken out of the game.”
Frank said contact is underway to find out if Durant was in near contact of the individual who tested positive.
Durant helped the Nets rally to take the lead before he was informed in the next quarter he needed to exit the match. Replays showed trainer Steve Nash appearing to provide the news to Durant, who walked toward the locker room area and threw a water bottle in frustration. The Nets then announced he was out for the rest of the night.
“I really don’t get it. “I mean, they let him perform, then they take him out. I really don’t know. I really don’t get it.”
Durant had already missed three matches this year associated with the health and security protocols. He tested positive for the virus in March while he was recovering from Achilles tendon surgery.
He had scored at least 20 points in all of his 17 games thus far, the longest series to start a year in his profession.