Kyrie Irving's Status Unclear for Sunday Vs. Thunder After Missing Game for Personal Reasons

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Kyrie Irving's status remains up in the air for Sunday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, per ESPN's Malika Andrews.

Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash confirmed in a press conference on Friday that he heard from Irving on Thursday evening after the guard sat out against the Philadelphia 76ers for personal reasons. 

Nash said Friday said when he heard Irving was out, he reached out to the 28-year-old. According to The Athletic's Joe Vardon, a source said Irving is "OK" but his timetable to return is unclear. After Thursday's game, which the Nets won 122-109, Andrews reported that Irving would not fly to Memphis with the team for their game against the Grizzlies on Friday.

It's unknown at this time why Irving is out; however, the events this week could have played a factor. 

On Jan. 5, the Kenosha County (Wisc.) district attorney decided not to prosecute the police officer who shot Jacob Blake, leaving him paralyzed. The shooting occurred on Aug. 23, 2020, three months after George Floyd died while being violently restrained by police officers in Minneapolis.

Floyd's death sparked protests across the world as the Black Lives Matter movement fought and advocated for racial and social justice.

This summer, Irving was reportedly against the league restarting in the bubble amid the racial injustice, and led a call of more than 80 players in June ahead of the restart. He advocated for players to focus on social injustices following Floyd's death. 

"I don't support going into Orlando," he told the players, per Shams Charania of The Athletic. "I'm not with the systematic racism and the bulls--t."

In the wake of the Blake shooting, NBA and WNBA players elected not to play in several games in protest. Several teams, like the Milwaukee Bucks, released statements following the news from Kenosha. 

“The Bucks organization remains firmly against excessive use of force by law enforcement," the statement read. "This past year shed light on the ongoing racial injustices facing our African American and other marginalized communities…As an organization, we remain strongly committed to address issues of social injustice and anti-racism and to make meaningful change for African Americans and all marginalized members of our community.”

LeBron James, Irving's former teammate, spoke about the prosecutor's decision during his postgame interview on Tuesday. 

"To hear what happened in Kenosha today was a blow to the heart and to the gut," James said. "Not only to that community but to us and to every Black person that's been a part of this process and seeing these outcomes for so long. And not only just in the Black community, but also in the white community as well who see moments like this happen to us, to happen to his family, to happen to the kid himself. To see that verdict was a blow to the gut and a blow to the heart.

"We got to continue to stay strong, got to continue to believe in each other and continue to push for the greater of change and the greater good." 

Several NBA teams—the Heat, Celtics, Bucks and Pistons—reacted before and during their games on Wednesday night. 

“To be honest,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens, “at 30 minutes I didn’t think we were going to be playing.”

The Miami and Boston players released a statement prior to the game and kneeled during the national anthem. 

"2021 is a new year, but some things have not changed," the statement read. "The drastic difference between the way protesters this past spring and summer were treated and the encouragement given to today's protestors who acted illegally just shows how much more work we have to do.

"We have decided to play tonight's game to try to bring joy into people's lives. But we must not forget the injustices in our society, and we will continue to use our voices and our platform to highlight these issues and do everything we can to work for a more equal and just America. #BLACKLIVESSTILLMATTER"

The Milwaukee and Detroit players went through with the opening tip, knocked the ball out of bounds and kneeled as one.