Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) returned to the team after missing seven games for personal reasons. He could play for Brooklyn on Wednesday. Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

NEW YORK — Kyrie Irving rejoined the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, saying he took a leave of absence because he “just needed a pause.”

Irving practiced with the team and could play Wednesday in Cleveland. He has missed the last seven games, five while away from the team and two more while regaining his conditioning after he was eligible to return.

Resting his head on his arms folded in front of him while he spoke during a Zoom interview, Irving didn’t give a clear reason for his absence, saying he had a lot of family and personal stuff going on.

Irving was fined $50,000 for violating the NBA’s health and safety protocols after he was seen in a video posted on social media during his absence at an indoor family party while not wearing a mask. He also lost nearly $900,000 of his $33.5 million salary because two of the games he missed were during a mandated quarantine period.

Irving said he was happy to be back with the team, which acquired James Harden during his absence. The Nets have won both games since the trade.

TRAIL BLAZERS: Guard CJ McCollum has a hairline fracture in his left foot, the team said.


McCollum will wear a walking boot and be reevaluated in four weeks. He was injured Saturday during a game against the Atlanta Hawks.

McCollum was averaging a career-best 26.7 points, as well as five assists, per game when he got injured.

McCollum’s injury is the latest to befall the Blazers. Center Jusuf Nurkic fractured his wrist during a game last week against the Indiana Pacers and is out indefinitely.

In his eighth NBA season, McCollum was first thought to have a sprain but the team said additional imaging showed a hairline fracture to the lateral cuneiform.

It was unclear when he was injured but it appeared that Atlanta’s Clint Capela stepped on his foot following a layup in the opening quarter. The Blazers went on to win the game 112-106.

PACERS: Caris LeVert said he was awaiting additional test results on a small mass in his left kidney before establishing a treatment plan or a timeline for his debut.


Team doctors found the growth during a routine post-trade physical late last week. LeVert said he doesn’t yet know if the mass is cancerous.

Indiana acquired LeVert as part of a four-team, blockbuster trade that sent All-Star James Harden from Houston to Brooklyn. The Rockets sent the 6-foot-6 guard to the Pacers in exchange for Victor Oladipo.

Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard announced the results of the physical Saturday.

LeVert, who hadn’t missed any games with the Nets this season prior to the trade, said he never felt any lower back pain and had no indication anything even might be wrong.

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