Durant was first held out of the start of Friday’s game due to COVID-19 contact tracing, ESPN reported. Then, after missing only a few minutes, he was cleared to return. Then, in the third quarter, he was pulled from the game once again due to the league’s health and safety protocols.
ESPN’s Malika Andrews first shed light on the development via Twitter:
Kevin Durant is out for the remainder of the game due to health and safety protocols. After missing the beginning of the game and subsequently being cleared to play, Durant is unable to play at the direction of the league, a source told ESPN.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania later posted a statement from the NBA on Durant’s situation.
“Kevin Durant has tested negative three times in the last 24 hours, including two negative PCR tests today,” the statement read, per Charania. “However, someone he interacted with this afternoon subsequently had an inconclusive test result return shortly before the game. Durant was initially held out of the game while that result was being reviewed. 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. During the game, a positive result was returned for the person Durant interacted with this afternoon. Once that test was confirmed positive, out of an abundance of caution, Durant was removed from the game, and contact tracing is underway to determine if he was in fact a close contact of the positive individual.”
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Durant, who is leading the All-Star Game fan voting, played 19 minutes and had eight points, six rebounds and five assists while committing four personal fouls. It was the first time in his career he came off the bench; prior to Friday, he had started in each of his 866 career games.
The Nets wound up losing the game, 123-117.
Durant Visibly Frustrated
ESPN cameras caught the moment Durant was delivered the news.
Durant, who entered averaging 30.8 points per game, was told by someone from the Nets sideline he had to leave the floor early in the third quarter. The 6-foot-11 forward shook his head before rising to his feet and beginning to walk slowly off the floor. As he entered the tunnel, he was seen tossing his water bottle in frustration.
“This is the moment where he gets notification that he’s got to leave the floor. He can’t believe it,” ESPN’s Doris Burke said on the ESPN broadcast. “He’s shaking his head. He cannot believe it.”
Not long after, Durant took to Twitter to weigh in on the situation. It took him only two words.
He then had a few more words to share via his Twitter account:
Durant Won’t Be Available for Saturday’s Game, per Report
Friday’s game in Brooklyn was the first of a back-to-back for the Nets. They’re set to play Saturday night against the 76ers in Philadelphia.
It appears Durant won’t suit up have a chance to for that one.
Sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Durant won’t travel to Philly for the game. The rest of the Nets have been cleared to do so, Woj reported.