Kevin Durant was out, then in, and then finally out of Friday night’s Nets-Raptors game in Brooklyn. The Nets forward was yanked around as the league waited to hear whether someone who was in contact with him earlier in the day tested positive for COVID-19.
Durant was held out of the start of the game, only to be cleared about eight minutes into the first quarter (per Newsday). He played 19 minutes before being removed in the second half under the league’s health and safety protocol.
The Nets and Raptors continued to play after Durant was taken out of the game.
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The NBA said in a statement (posted by Shams Charania of The Athletic) that Durant was in contact Friday with someone who returned an inconclusive test result before the game. The test result turned positive during the game. Durant himself had tested negative three times in the previous 24 hours, including two negative PCR tests Friday.
“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,” the league said in the statement. “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 person involved.”
Durant responded by blasting the league in a tweet.
Before that, KD let his frustration come through in this two-word tweet:
After the game, Durant’s teammates shared their bewilderment over what happened.
James Harden told reporters that he thought the game was going to be postponed.
“They just said contact tracing, and I’m thinking to myself, ‘Well, if it’s contact tracing, then we’re all in the locker room together. I mean, there’s no game if he’s not going to be able to play,'” he said.
Joe Harris called the situation “bizarre.”
“And for him to not start, and then be able to come in, play, and then be taken out of the game, it really just doesn’t make any sense,” he said.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Durant will not accompany the Nets on their trip to Philadelphia for a game Saturday night against the 76ers. Wojnarowski added that the length of Durant’s absence will depend on how long and how close the league determines Durant was in contact with the person who tested positive. Durant missed four games earlier in the season because of contact tracing.
The league announced Wednesday that no new players out of 482 had tested positive for the coronavirus since Jan. 27. Durant was one of the first NBA players to test positive for COVID-19; the Nets announced that test result last March.
This article has been updated.