James Harden was cleared before the Christmas Day game against the Lakers; The Nets Still Have 10 Players In COVID-19 Protocols


James Harden has cleared the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash said Thursday. That means he’s cleared to fly with the Los Angeles squad on Friday. The same goes for Paul Millsap and Jevon Carter, who have also been inactive due to COVID protocols.

Brooklyn still has 10 players in protocols, however, ahead of its Christmas Day game against the Los Angeles Lakers. Rookies Kessler Edwards, David Duke Jr. and Cameron Thomas all signed protocols, Nash said, joining Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Day’Ron Sharpe, LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre ‘Bembry, Bruce Brown and James Johnson.

When an NBA player tests positive for COVID-19, they must self-isolate until 10 days have passed since the first positive test or the onset of symptoms, or until they are or negative on two PCR tests carried out at least 24 hours apart. Before he can return he must be cleared by a team and league doctor.

Harden and Carter entered the protocols on December 14, a day after Millsap. Based on that timeline, more reinforcements could arrive – Aldridge, Bembry, Brown and Johnson all signed protocols on December 14 – but, according to Nash, the team plan to be gravely shorthanded against the Lakers.

“We don’t expect anyone else to break out of the protocols, but it is possible,” Nash said. “So you have to do, I think, two negative tests 24 hours apart, so I guess that gives us tonight and tomorrow night to send back two negatives, but we don’t expect anyone to come out of that anytime soon. ”

Nash said those in the protocols were “largely asymptomatic” and those with symptoms had “very mild” ones.

The Nets haven’t played basketball since their 100-93 loss to the Orlando Magic on Saturday at Barclays Center. Their three pre-Christmas games – at home against the Denver Nuggets and Washington Wizards, then a road game in Portland – have all been postponed. Brooklyn closed its training facility after the initial outbreak, but has since reopened it for healthy players to do individual training.

“But no group workouts,” Nash said. “And basically it only started yesterday, today the guys are back on the pitch in isolation. So it’s tricky. We haven’t been able to do much, but we are doing. what we can. ”

Nash said the Nets hope to have a good practice on Friday, but he’s not sure if that will be in the cards. Assuming Harden plays in Los Angeles, he could share the floor with four new teammates – last week Brooklyn signed Langston Galloway, Shaquille Harrison, James Ennis III and Wenyen Gabriel to 10-day contracts using hardship exceptions. .

Given the circumstances, Nash tempered short-term expectations for the team.

“Sometimes it can be great when you go back to the gym after about a week – and some of our guys, longer,” Nash said. “So we have to give them the space to get their rhythm and timing. And as a group, we have to approach things the right way, with enthusiasm and… positive energy, and at the same time not put too much pressure. on ourselves to play flawlessly through the doors. “

Other notes on shelved fillets:

  • Irving will have to do “kind of ramp up” after clearing protocols before he can play in a (road) game, Nash said. Translation: He’ll have to play five-on-five, which might mean working with the group “stay ready” (i.e. other players returning from absence or out of rotation).
  • Nicolas Claxton, who missed Brooklyn’s last game with a wrist injury, could play in Los Angeles, but Nash isn’t sure either. “It depends on how he’s progressing,” Nash said, “but he’s progressing and he’s put himself in a position where he has a chance to play on this trip. So we’ll see, and I hope that he will be able to come back and do not miss his rhythm, his timing and his impact too much. ”
  • Joe Harris “sure is improving,” Nash said, but he “won’t play on this trip for sure, and I don’t really know when he’ll be back.” Harris underwent surgery on his injured ankle on November 29 and his agent told ESPN that he would be absent for 4 to 6 weeks. He hasn’t played since November 14.

If there was any doubt that Saturday’s game would play out as planned, Nash was final: Yes, a version of the Nets will take the field in Los Angeles. (The NBA requires each team to have at least eight players available.)

“We have enough to play,” Nash said. “I think we’ve signed – what do we have, four G League guys? So we’ve got a lot to get to eight.”


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