Nets’ Kevin Durant removed mid-game under NBA protocol; ‘Free me,’ star tweets

Kevin Durant was out, then in, and then finally out of Friday night’s Nets-Raptors game in Brooklyn. The Brooklyn forward was yanked around as the league waited to hear whether someone who was in contact with him earlier in the day tested positive for COVID-19.

Durant was held out of the start of the game, only to be cleared about eight minutes into the first quarter (per Newsday). He played 19 minutes before being removed in the second half under the league’s health and safety protocol.

The Nets and Raptors continued to play after Durant was taken out of the game.

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The NBA said in a statement (posted by Shams Charania of The Athletic) that Durant was in contact Friday with someone who returned an inconclusive test result before the game. The test result turned positive during the game. Durant himself had tested negative three times in the previous 24 hours, including two negative PCR tests Friday. 

“Under the league’s health and safety protocols, we do not require a player to be quarantined until a close contact has a confirmed positive test,” the league said in the statement. “During the game, a positive result was returned for the person Durant interacted with this afternoon. Once that test was confirmed positive, out of an abundance of caution, Durant was removed from the game, and contact tracing is underway to determine if he was in fact a close contact of the person involved.”

Durant expressed his frustration following his removal in a two-word tweet:

The league announced Wednesday that no new players out of 482 had tested positive for the coronavirus since Jan. 27. Durant was one of the first NBA players to test positive for COVID-19; the Nets announced that test result last March.

This article has been updated.

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