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Kevin Durant probable to play Thursday vs. 76ers [UPDATE]

KD and Kyrie have cleared health and safety protocols. Irving will need time before returning but Durant could be back in the lineup soon.

Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles against Seth Curry #31 of the Philadelphia 76ers during their game at Barclays Center on December 16, 2021 in New York City. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Update, Dec. 29 — Durant is being listed as probable to play Thursday vs. the Sixers while LMA is expected to return to the lineup. If both are back, they’ll reclaim their spots in the starting lineup.

Brooklyn Nets SF Kevin Durant, PF/C LaMarcus Aldridge and PG Kyrie Irving were all cleared from the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Tuesday afternoon. This is big news for Brooklyn, which has been fine without multiple starters and rotation players due to COVID-19 and the recent outbreak across the NBA. James Harden was able to return on Christmas Day to help the Nets defeat the Lakers. On Monday night, the Nets picked up a win over the Clippers.

We already know from coach Steve Nash that Irving won’t be back for at least a few weeks while he ramps up training and conditioning. Durant and LMA could be back as soon as Thursday against the Philadelphia 76ers. We’ll see how much conditioning both players need before being able to return. It could take until New Year’s Day on Saturday against the Clippers for KD and LMA to be back.

Once KD and LMA are back, we should see a relatively normal lineup and rotation from the Nets, something we haven’t seen in probably a month or so. Brooklyn has had three games postponed due to COVID-19. Most of its players have gone through protocols and now the NBA has shortened the isolation period to 6 days, which should help prevent long-term absences. The Nets remain the betting favorite to win it all at +245 on DraftKings Sportsbook.