Nets optimistic that Kyrie Irving will return this season: report

Kyrie Irving Nets
Kyrie Irving
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t write off Kyrie Irving’s season just yet. 

A report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania on Monday indicated that there is “renewed optimism” coming from the Brooklyn Nets that their star point guard will return to the team sometime this season. 

Irving has not appeared in a single game during the 2021-22 campaign after the Nets decided to completely keep him away from the team.

The 29-year-old so far has opted not to take the COVID-19 vaccine, which bars him from playing inside the Barclays Center due to mandates handed down by New York City barring any unvaccinated person from entering major indoor venues like arenas. 

Charania added that the avenue in which Irving could return remains uncertain. He could either take the vaccine to meet the city’s requirements or the Nets could decide to bring him back into the fold, allowing him to play games on the road in cities that don’t have such vaccination requirements while practicing at home.

There appears to be little suggestion that New York City could ease up on its requirements, especially with the current spreading of the omicron variant. Mayor-elect Eric Adams does not seem inclined to make any changes to the current rules.

As reported last week, a plant-based vaccine could be Irving’s ticket back to playing full-time with the Nets. The seven-time All-Star’s diet is entirely plant-based, which would offer an option to get a vaccination that is more in line with his beliefs and lifestyle.

The CBC reported last week that Medicago — a Canadian biopharmaceutical company — has developed a plant-based vaccine that shows a 75% efficacy rate against COVID-19 and a 71% efficacy rate against all virus variants.