His "Heart Racing", Kyrie Irving Joins The Nets At Practice For First Time

It's a move that's caused consternation around the NBA, but it's official now—Kyrie Irving, the part-time player, is back with the Brooklyn Nets. He joined the team at their practice facility for the first time in nearly three months, and addressed how excited he was to be back with his teammates after his self-directed exile.

"When I thought about it last night I could barely sleep," Irving told the media. "I'm like, man, I just don't want to come out and not be who I know I am as a player...(My) heart racing and just not being nervous and touching the basketball again, and just the rhythm of the game. I missed it."

The choice to sit out, of course, was his, after the Nets originally said they would not accept a "part-time" player who could not play home games—the situation Irving would continue to be in as long as he refused to be vaccinated for Covid-19 (which he still is not) due to the New York City mandate.

With their roster in shambles with all the other absences due to Covid, the Nets blinked first, and made the extremely controversial decision to reverse course and bring him back, even though he can only play road games (Toronto being the exception, where he will not be able to play unvaccinated). 

"Now it's just time to turn the page now that this first day is over... I'm just focused on putting the best foot forward for the team and being available." 

Of course, he won't "be available" until at least after the Nets' upcoming 3-game homestand. In fact, he won't "be available" to play in 7 of their next 9 games, which are at home. Irving's earliest return to NBA action would be Jan. 5th in Indiana, though head coach Steve Nash isn't going to rush it.

“I don’t think it’s smart to rush him into games," Nash said. "There’s only 50 games left. It’s when he’s ready. If he’s ready for Indiana, great. If he’s not, we push it to the next one.”  

Photo Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports