KEY POINTS

  • Kyrie Irving formally returns to the Nets and is expected to play against Cavs
  • Irving is still mum on why he took a personal leave
  • He reaffirms his commitment to playing for Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Nets can heave a big sigh of relief with reports that Kyrie Irving has officially rejoined the team after taking some time off.

Head coach Steve Nash bared that the 28-year-old is expected to play on Wednesday when Brooklyn squares off against the six-time All-Star’s former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving rejoined Nets practice after more than two weeks. He has not played since Jan. 5.

The one-time NBA champion spoke to teammates and key personnel of the Nets organization individually.

"I'm happy to be back. Happy to be around these guys. Addressed the team, addressed everybody that needed to be addressed... It's time to move on. Happy to be back," Irving said.

Despite his return to the Nets, Irving could not ignore the fact that he would be plagued by questions about his absence.

The former top pick responded by saying that just had to deal with family and personal issues, adding that he prefers to keep it to himself for now.

Irving’s return was delayed further after he was spotted partying with his sister without a face mask. That resulted in a $50,000 fine from the NBA for violating the league’s health protocols.

However, it appears that Irving hinted that his absence was influenced by the things going on outside of basketball.

Despite all that, Irving reiterated that he is committed to playing basketball and is raring to re-align and fulfill his duties as part of the team.

"My commitment has always [been] to bringing something special to Brooklyn," he stated. "It wasn't just a championship. It was unity, equality, just bigger things than just the game itself. It took quite a while and quite a few valleys to get back home, initially. So for me, I'm just taking every day, just being grateful."

The Nets also clarified that Irving’s time-off had nothing to do with the recent acquisition of James Harden from the Houston Rockets.

Nets general manager Sean Marks stressed that Irving’s absence and Harden’s coming are entirely separate.

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets
Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets Getty Images | Sarah Stier

Depending on how he performs at practice, it remains to be seen how Nash will utilize the veteran guard. Having gone through several injuries, Irving could be used sparingly for now until he proves he is back at 100%.

The Nets face the Cavaliers on Wednesday with tip-off at 7:00 p.m. E.T.

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