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Nets star Kyrie Irving remains unavailable with no update on his status

Nets guard Kyrie Irving directs his teammates against

Nets guard Kyrie Irving directs his teammates against the Washington Wizards during the first half of an NBA basketball game at Barclays Center on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Nets coach Steve Nash said after practice Monday he did not have any updates regarding Kyrie Irving and his status for Tuesday’s game against Denver.

Irving, who is averaging 27.1 points in seven games, has missed the last three contests due to personal reasons. The team has no timetable for his return and Nash has called his absence "a private matter."

Irving’s absence clearly was felt Sunday as the Nets blew a 15-point lead in a 129-116 loss to Oklahoma City. The loss wasted a 36-point performance by Kevin Durant, who had returned after missing a week because someone close to him had tested positive for COVID-19.

Going into the season, the Nets were one of the league’s deepest teams at point guard, with an All-NBA player in Irving as the starter and Spencer Dinwiddie as his backup. Dinwiddie now is out for an indefinite period after tearing his right ACL. With Irving also out of the lineup, the Nets need another ballhandler.

"It’s a challenge when we are missing guys," Nash said in a Zoom call after practice Monday. " . . . It affects us mentally, physically, depth wise, injury-risk wise but also talent wise. Guys are having to share more responsibility [for scoring] than they are used to. No one is going to cry for us. We have to continue to grow and build and work things out."

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