While Irving has expressed a desire to return to play, sources said, his extended absence from the court requires a period of ramping up basketball activities. Irving has not played in a game since Jan. 5.
For the first five games of his absence, Irving was listed as out due to personal reasons. Saturday's absence is unrelated, and he is listed as out as a part of the league's health and safety protocols.
On Friday, the league announced that Irving had violated the league's health and safety rules. The NBA investigated videos that began circulating on social media earlier this week that showed Irving at a family birthday party, maskless.
The league fined Irving $50,000 and announced he would forfeit his salary for the two games he missed during his five-day quarantine, which ends Saturday. According to ESPN's Bobby Marks, Irving will lose $816,898 in salary.
The NBA allows for players who have had to quarantine as a part of the COVID-19 protocols to take a few days to work out and practice before returning to play in games. Irving will not be fined by the league for missing Saturday.
James Harden is listed as questionable on the Nets' injury report, pending the completion of the four-team trade that landed him in Brooklyn. Harden completed his physical on Friday, a team spokesperson told ESPN. Harden will start as soon as he is eligible to play, coach Steve Nash said.