Nets head coach Steve Nash planning to play home games without Kyrie Irving

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Kyrie Irving points Game 2 vs Milwaukee
Kyrie Irving points Game 2 vs Milwaukee

Kyrie Irving returned to the Nets’ practice facility on Sunday but his availability for home games remains uncertain.

Brooklyn head coach Steve Nash acknowledged that the team has to plan for the possibility of Irving missing home games due the New York City’s local COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Under the local ordinance, Knicks and Nets players are required to have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to participate in home games.

FOX Sports reported that Irving did not get the vaccine. That’s been confirmed in the days since; Irving was not at Barclays Center for Brooklyn’s home game on Friday against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Based on the Nets’ public statements, the organization seems unsure of whether Irving will ultimately get the vaccine and become eligible for home games.

“I think we recognize he’s not playing home games (at the moment). So we’re going to have to for sure play without him this year. So it just depends on when, where and how much,” Nash said when asked if the team was planning for a scenario where they didn’t have Irving for home games.

Irving will not play in the Nets’ preseason game at Philadelphia on Monday, Nash said.

“He’s not going to travel to Philly. We just keep navigating that. But it was great to have him back on the floor (Sunday), we’ll keep building him up and see how things go,” Nash said. “But we haven’t made any firm decisions on anything right now.”

As he has said in the past when talking about Irving, Nash noted that the situation can change at any moment.

“I think right now we assume he's not going to be available for home games. Anything can change. Who's to say, the city's ordinance could change? Anything could change,” Nash said. “I think right now we're just trying to remain flexible, open-minded and figure it out as we go because information is coming in by the half-day here. Whether it's Paul (Millsap's) situation, Kyrie's situation or the laws. We found out Friday he could come in the building. So things are shifting, no one's been through this before and we're just trying to figure it out as we go.”

Millsap has been unavailable due to health and safety protocols. He wasn’t at the facility on Sunday, but Irving was.

New York City ruled on Friday that the Nets’ facility was a private office, not subject to the vaccine ordinance. That allowed Irving to attend Sunday’s practice.

“He worked out today, he got his shots, he lifted weights and took part in practice,” Nash said. "We’ll continue to build up his conditioning, and it was great to have him back on the floor.”

Asked on Sunday about the possibility of Irving coming off the bench for the Nets if he were a ‘part-time player’ prohibited from home games, Nash said it's in the cards.

“It’s possible, yeah. We’ll see," he said. "We haven’t really got there yet,” the second year coach said. “I think we’re still trying to process all of the possibilities. That might take us some time to see where his body is at. No one has ever done that before, so we’re trying…I wouldn’t know what precedents there are and what’s the best way to do it. We’re really trying to navigate it as we go.”