Nets’ Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in protocol

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant has entered NBA health and safety protocols, the team announced Saturday.

Durant joins forwards Paul Millsap, LaMarcus Aldridge, James Johnson and DeAndre ‘Bembry and guards James Harden, Bruce Brown and Jevon Carter in protocols.

Later on Saturday, the team said all-star goalie Kyrie Irving had entered protocols, making him the ninth Nets player on the COVID roster.

The Nets are scheduled to play the Orlando Magic on Saturday night.

Durant is averaging 29.7 points leading the league, with 7.9 rebounds and 5.9 assists for Brooklyn, which has won four in a row and has the Eastern Conference’s best record at 21-8.

To make up for the squad shortage, the team signed free agent forward James Ennis III and free agent goaltender Shaquille Harrison to 10-day contracts.

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The team announced Friday that they will bring Irving back as a part-time player on the road to address the team’s COVID-19 issues. Irving, who is not vaccinated, has not played all season.

Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Evan Mobley was also placed in NBA health and safety protocols on Saturday and will not play in tonight’s game against Milwaukee Bucks, the the team announced.

Other NHL games are postponed

The NHL said on Saturday it was postponing the Boston Bruins and Nashville Predators games until Christmas due to outbreaks among those teams.

In addition, the Toronto Maple Leafs-Vancouver Canucks game on Saturday and the Maple Leafs-Seattle Kraken and Arizona Coyotes-Canucks games on Sunday have been postponed.

Stars Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron are among the Bruins’ players in protocol, and Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar were added on Saturday. Saturday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens has already been postponed, as has a game against Colorado when the Avalanche came to a halt during the break. The newly postponed games are against the Ottawa Senators and Carolina Hurricanes.

The Predators’ recently postponed games against the Hurricanes and Winnipeg Jets. Thursday’s game in Florida has already been postponed when the Panthers were pulled over during the break.

Meanwhile, Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill, assistant coach Alex Tanguay and players Givani Smith, Carter Rowney and Alex Nedeljkovic have been placed in quarantine after testing positive.

NHL announces improved protocols

The NHL and the NHL Players’ Association announced stricter COVID-19 protocols on Saturday a day after hitting three-team games over the Christmas break.

The rules include a ban for players to dine at indoor restaurants on the road, locker room access restricted to players and traveling club staff, daily testing and virtual team meetings.

It also requires the wearing of the mask inside the team’s facilities and during travel. The memo reminded teams that masks were mandatory on team charters and that some charter companies were complaining about “non-compliance with this requirement and asking you to strictly adhere to it”.

College basketball games canceled

Memphis’ game against Tennessee at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville was called off due to two positive tests that left so many players in touch that the Tigers felt they were unable to field a team.

Rutgers has also postponed his match against Rider due to COVID-19 issues at the Scarlet Knights.

Contribution: Mike Brehm, Jason Munz, Jerry Carino

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