Kyrie Irving will return to the hardwood tonight for the Brooklyn Nets, ending his two-week absence from the team.
Irving opened up about his absence during his media session on Tuesday. He didn’t provide too many details, but he did stress the importance of taking a break when under mental duress.
“I’m back, I’m happy to be back,” Irving told reporters. “And we got some great pieces and we just move on and I let my actions and my game speak for itself like I planned on doing. Just needed a pause.”
Now that he’s back, it’ll be on Steve Nash and the rest of the coaching staff to make sure their All-Star guard is at 100 percent – both mentally and physically.
“It is the job of the coach. We are human beings and he’s a human being, and we have to protect him in all manners so he can perform to the best of his abilities,” Nash said. “Part of that is being happy and being as peaceful of a human being as possible, even beyond basketball. It’s more important than basketball that he’s balanced, happy, and thriving.
As for the team’s plan moving forward, Nash said it’s all about monitoring Irving’s mental fatigue.
“If there’s a plan, it would be to monitor it and be here for him while he sorts out all the things that he’s going through. We can provide a layer of protection of him.”
"It's more important than basketball that he's balanced, happy, and thriving"
Steve Nash discusses how he and the Nets plan to monitor Kyrie Irving's mental fatigue going forward: pic.twitter.com/3H1RMWvPpV
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) January 20, 2021
Irving has been very production when on the court this season, averaging 27.1 points per game.
Tonight’s game will be the first time we see Irving on the court with Kevin Durant and James Harden. It’ll be fascinating to see how those three superstars look on the court together.