There is renewed optimism around Kyrie Irving returning to the Brooklyn Nets this season, sources with knowledge of the situation told The Athletic.

There had been serious doubts about Irving’s playing status this season. Until now, it remains unclear whether his potential return would come via vaccination to meet New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine requirements or by Brooklyn opening the door for him to play road games and practice at home.

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie  Irving
Team: Brooklyn Nets
Position: PG, SG
Age: 29
Height: 191 cm
Weight: 87 kg
Birth place: Melbourne, Australia

In any case, The Athletic reports, Nets players and coaches want to have Irving rejoin the team as soon as possible.

In recent weeks, he and Kevin Durant, his co-star and close friend, have had increased communication about his fit on the team, breaking down the games, and about life in general, sources added.

There appears to be an increased level of enthusiasm between the two superstars.

Multiple City Hall officials, both current and incoming, have told The Athletic there are no plans to lift the requirement that imposes on New York City residents to have at least one vaccine shot to enter indoor gyms such as Barclays Center.

“We just focus on our group and getting better every single day and if we get the gift of (Irving’s) return, we’ll be ecstatic but we can’t count on it,” Nets coach Steve Nash said last week. “We can’t wait for him. We have to get to work and get better.”

“Don’t believe that I’m retiring, don’t believe that I’m going to give up this game for a vaccine mandate or staying unvaccinated,” Irving said on Instagram Live in October.

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2-pointers this season

Points made: 28,5
Accuracy: 53,0%
Place in standings: 11
Record max: 40
Record min: 19
Most made 2FGs: Kevin Durant