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The NBA sidelined Kevin Durant for COVID-19 contact tracing, and the Nets star has a two-word message for the league.
Despite having tested negative for coronavirus three times in the past 24 hours — twice on Friday — Durant was still a last-minute scratch from the starting lineup, pulled off the court in the third quarter and kept out for the rest of Brooklyn’s 123-117 loss to Toronto at Barclays Center. Now he’s expected to miss Saturday’s clash at East-leading Philadelphia — at least. And he isn’t happy about it.
“Free me,” Durant tweeted Friday night. “Yo @nba, your fans aren’t dumb!!!! You can’t fool em with your Wack ass PR tactics.. #FREE7”
Durant has already recovered from COVID-19, has antibodies and returned two negative PCR tests Friday, according to the league. But someone the Nets star interacted with in the afternoon subsequently had an inconclusive test result shortly before tipoff.
During the game, a positive result was returned for the person Durant had interacted with. Once that test was confirmed positive, Durant was pulled from the game (“out of an abundance of caution,” according to the league) and contact tracing began to determine if he was in fact a close contact of the positive individual.
“I don’t believe he’ll come to Philly, but I don’t think it’s necessarily decided,” coach Steve Nash said. “It’s a contact tracing procedure and it’s to be determined how much time he’ll have to miss. But we’re just gathering information at this point.
“I hope it’s more of a to-be-determined situation than a situation where it’s one-week quarantine. I don’t know. I hope that obviously we don’t lose him for the week, but I’m not sure exactly right now. We’re still trying to filter what kind of information we can gather and the type of parameters around the decision.”
Friday isn’t the first time Durant has dealt with coronavirus or contact tracing.
Durant had COVID-19 in May, then last month Durant had to serve a seven-day quarantine and miss games against Utah, Philadelphia and Memphis due to contact tracing.
Despite having tested positive for antibodies recently, the league’s COVID-19 protocols don’t differentiate between players who have antibodies and those that don’t, so Durant isn’t exempt.
“We get tested every single day. He’s been negative, so I don’t understand what the problem is.”
The Nets announced at 7:38 p.m. — about two minutes before the lineups were announced — that Durant wouldn’t be available to start. There were additional tests on whomever he came in contact with, and the league eventually cleared him to play. He checked in replacing Harden with 4:13 left in the first quarter.
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Still, Durant’s night only lasted 19 minutes. With 9:06 left in the third Nash had called a timeout to challenge a call — a fifth foul on Durant — when word came down that he’d have to sit the rest of the night.
“They continued to test to try to gain clarity and I think there was a positive test, there was a negative test, there was an inconclusive test,” Nash said. “You add it all up, it was misleading for a moment, and that’s why he was allowed to play.
“They continued to test to try to gather more data, and the last test was positive, so I think that was the final straw that pulled him out of the game, but I don’t want to say too much.
28, 2017 when he logged just 1:33 for Golden State. It remains to be seen if Durant will have to quarantine again, or for how long..