Brooklyn Nets’ power forward Kevin Durant was in the starting lineup against the Raptors. However, he was removed from the team sheet before the start of play. Eventually, he was cleared to play and was brought on in the first quarter.
But this did not last for long as Durant was asked to remove himself from play again in the third quarter. This was done because of the NBA’s Health and Safety protocols.
The confusion that transpired:
The Nets faced a very strange situation – one for which they had not prepared. So naturally, the whole team and coaching staff were befuddled. According to NBA, Durant’s teammate Joe Harris said “Confusing, frustrating. I mean, it’s bizarre,” when asked about the strange events.
Kevin Durant played a big part in his team rallying from behind to gain the lead. But his removal from the game in the 3rd quarter eventually resulted in the Nets succumbing to a 123-117 defeat at the hands of the Toronto Raptors.
“I don’t get it. It’s frustrating obviously, I mean, they let him play, then they take him out. I don’t know. I don’t get it.” said teammate Jeff Green about the fiasco. Kevin Durant himself was not best pleased with what happened. He tweeted “Free Me” as he voiced his annoyance on social media.
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) February 6, 2021
Why was Kevin Durant removed from the game:
The NBA is very particular about the condition of its players and containing the spread of the virus in any way possible. That is why Durant had to undergo the COVID-19 test three times in the last 24-hours. However, NBA spokesperson Tim Frank said that Durant had interacted with someone in the afternoon who had an inconclusive test result.
“Under the league’s health and safety protocols, we do not require a player to be quarantined until a close contact has a confirmed positive test,” Frank said. This is why Kevin Durant was initially allowed to come on in the first quarter. “During the game, a positive result was returned for the person Durant interacted with. … Once that test was confirmed positive, out of an abundance of caution, Durant was removed from the game.” The positive result came in the middle of the 3rd quarter and Durant was asked to remove himself.
KD was really frustrated when he got to know about his apparent removal. He threw a bottle on the floor and stormed towards the locker room. Following this, The Nets announced that Durant will not participate in the game anymore.
He concluded the game with eight points. He had scored at least 20 points in all of his 17 games thus far, the longest period to begin a season in his career.
Durant ruled out for the next game:
After the loss at the hands of the Toronto Raptors, The Nets were cleared to travel to Philadelphia. However, Kevin Durant wasn’t allowed to travel with the team and is effectively ruled out of the game against the 76ers.
“It’s tough to lose Kevin Durant twice in one night,” Nets coach Steve Nash said during an ESPN interview after the game was over. “It wasn’t easy, but we got to be adaptable. This is the type of season it’s going to be, we’ve got a lot going on in our world. We got a lot of guys who can step up.”