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Kevin Durant: Nets support Kyrie Irving ‘100 percent’ amid continued absence

Kevin Durant insists that the Brooklyn Nets completely back Kyrie Irving as the point guard continues to be away from the team for personal reasons.

Durant returned to the Nets’ lineup for Sunday’s tilt with the Oklahoma City Thunder after sitting out three games due to the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols. Irving missed a third consecutive game for the aforementioned reasons, which remain unconfirmed as to their substance.

“I wouldn’t speak for Kyrie; I’ll let him do that for himself,” Durant said following Sunday’s 129-116 loss. “I’m sure you guys will see him soon after he comes back. We support him 100 percent and pray for the best.”

Nets head coach Steve Nash, meanwhile, had little to add as to when the Nets expect Irving to return.

“Right now, I don’t [know when he will return]. I’m just focused on the game. I’m trying to get our guys ready to go and make sure we’re clear on our game plan [Sunday],” Nash said, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “So that’s not something I can answer right now. No, I don’t worry about Kyrie falling out of rhythm. He’s a brilliant basketball player and when he comes back I’m sure it won’t take him long to be himself. So you know, whenever he’s back, you know, I think he’ll be himself relatively quickly. So that’s not a concern.”

Despite the lack of official confirmation surrounding Irving’s ongoing absence, a report surfaced over the weekend from Brian Lewis of the New York Post that the star is “fine physically” but has been left “upset” by Wednesday’s riots in Washington, D.C., that devolved into a mob storming, vandalizing and looting the U.S. Capitol Building.

Irving seemingly reacted to the events in D.C. during his absence with a somewhat cryptic Instagram post as well.

Irving is hardly the only NBA player to speak out against the chaos that occurred in D.C. last week, but his absence has left many unanswered questions given his status as one of the most enigmatic and mercurial superstars in the league.

On the other hand, Irving has been among the more outspoken professional athletes as the Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements flourished last year, so his reaction to what transpired last week in Washington is arguably understandable in that regard.

It goes without saying the ongoing Irving situation is something to monitor as the Nets move forward without him early on this season.