Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant couldn’t start a game and couldn’t finish it, retired in the third quarter due to NBA health and safety protocols.
Durant was unavailable at the start of Friday night’s game against Toronto, ending up being cleared into the first quarter. Once he did, he became his first appearance as a reserve in his 867 NBA games.
The bizarre situation – Durant was originally listed in the starting lineup before he was retired – the Nets have had to deal with a number of emotions.
“Confused, frustrating. I mean, it’s weird,” said teammate Joe Harris.
James Harden wondered why the match had not been postponed, since Durant had already rubbed shoulders with the players.
“They just said contract plotting and I’m like, ‘Well, if it’s contact tracing, then we’re all in the locker room together. It means there’s no play if it is. won’t be able to play “” said Harden.
The questions continued long after Toronto’s 123-117 victory. The Nets were cleared to travel to Philadelphia for their game scheduled for Saturday, but Durant will not be accompanying them while the team waits for a word on contract traceability.
He expressed his anger on social media, tweeting “Free me” and later criticizing the NBA for its public relations tactics.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank said in a statement Durant had tested negative three times in the past 24 hours, including two negative PCR tests on Friday. He said someone Durant interacted with in the afternoon got an inconclusive test result shortly before the game. Durant was initially detained while this result was under review.
“Under the league’s health and safety protocols, we do not require a player to be quarantined until close contact has a confirmed positive test,” Frank said. “During the match, a positive result was returned for the person Durant interacted with. … Once that test was confirmed positive, out of caution, Durant was removed from the match.”
Frank said that contact tracing is underway to determine if Durant was in close contact with the person who tested positive.
Durant helped the Nets rally take the lead before being told in the third quarter that he had to leave the game. Replays showed that coach Steve Nash appeared to give the news to Durant, who walked to the locker room and threw a bottle of water in frustration. The Nets then announced he was out for the rest of the night.
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