Kyrie Irving’s return to the Brooklyn Nets faced its first setback.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets announced that Irving has been placed in the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. The news comes less than 24 hours after the franchise announced that it would allow Irving to rejoin the team on a full-time basis.

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Irving, who has not been vaccinated against COVID-19, has not fit bed nets this season.

According to New York City rules for non-vaccinated people, Irving is not allowed to play in Nets home games or road games against the Knicks. However, Irving is allowed to train at the team’s facility and play in road games outside of visiting the Raptors, which is prohibited by Canadian laws for unvaccinated athletes.

After initially stating that the team would not allow Irving to be a part-time participant, Nets General Manager Shawn Marks changed course, citing discussions with players and coaching staff, lack of player availability due to injury and COVID-19 as reasons to allow Irving to rejoin the squad.

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Irving is one of nine Nets players to have entered health and safety protocols this week, with news of his entry coming just an hour after it was announced that Kevin Durant had been put into protocols. Durant and Irving joined a list that already included LaMarcus Aldridge, Da Andre Pimpri, Bruce Brown, Jevon Carter, James Harden, James Johnson and Paul Millsap.

Wojnarowski reported Irving’s return to the team depends on him in a negative five-day test. Christian Winfield of the New York Daily News provided clarification that Irving’s entry into the league’s health and safety protocols is an indication that he has returned a positive or inconclusive COVID-19 test result.

Once Irving is allowed to rejoin the squad, he will be put on a return to play program before he can make his season debut.

Irving is eligible to play in 24 of the Nets’ remaining 53 games, but his entry into health and safety protocols hampers any timeline for his potential return to play.

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