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Steve Nash: Nets' Kyrie Irving out only as a precaution

Head coach Steve Nash and Kyrie Irving #11

Head coach Steve Nash and Kyrie Irving #11 of the Nets during the second quarter against the Miami Heat at Barclays Center on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Although Kyrie Irving sat out the Nets’ game against the Spurs Wednesday night at Barclays Center because of a facial contusion he suffered the previous night in Chicago, coach Steve Nash made it clear the move was strictly precautionary and it’s likely Irving will return for the final two regular-season games Saturday against the Bulls and Sunday against the Cavaliers.

"Kyrie’s scans were clear fortunately," Nash said before the game. "No concussion, nothing on the scans. Just precautionary."

Asked if he hopes to get Irving and Kevin Durant time together on the court with James Harden, who returned from a month-long absence against the Spurs, Nash said of Irving, "He’s cleared to play, so it’s a matter of how comfortable he is playing. If they get that time together, it would be great. If they don’t, they don’t."

Durant only played both games of one previous back-to-back set this season, but he was cleared to go against the Spurs, and it sounded as if it was at his request.

"I’d be happy if he wants to err on the side of caution, but Kevin wants to play and get his rhythm and continue to get back to his best and then just to feel comfortable heading to the playoffs," Nash said.

Joe Harris also sat out for the first time all season after playing the first 69 games. He was suffering from a hip injury suffered a few games earlier, and his condition deteriorated slightly. But Nash said it’s nothing long-term.

Nash also clarified one other personnel issue involving guard Mike James, whose second 10-day contract is set to expire Thursday. Asked if the Nets likely would sign James to a deal that would keep him on the team for the playoffs, Nash said, "I can’t confirm anything. The front office will sit with him tonight or tomorrow. But we’ve been really happy with Mike. I’d imagine he’s going to be with us."

New York Sports