Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant was pulled from a game twice Friday based on Covid-19 concerns.
The NBA said in a statement that the 10-time All-Star was held back before tipoff because a close contact had an inconclusive Covid-19 test. He was seen in the game during the first quarter but was pulled again, in third quarter, after the close contact was confirmed positive, the NBA said.
The league doesn’t require a player to be quarantined until a confirmed positive test for a close contact is revealed, it said.
Durant was clearly frustrated, tweeting after being pulled out of the game, “Free me.”
The player, who averages nearly 30 points a game, had 8 points in 19 minutes and was off-court as the Nets fell to the Toronto Raptors 123-117.
Nets coach Steve Nash said at a post-game news conference that the pandemic drama distracted him.
“If Kevin’s not playing, are we gonna run the remaining guys too many minutes?” he said. “So maybe I got a little bit distracted by the big picture. But that’s the way this year’s gonna be.”
Durant recovered from Covid-19 last year, but surviving the disease, which imparts a level of antibody defenses, doesn’t preclude testing positive anew.
It’s not clear how long Durant will be remain out. Nash suggested it could be a week. NBC Sports reports that he did not travel with teammates to Philadelphia for a Saturday game.