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KyrieWatch: Waiting For Vegan Vaccine, Apparently

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According to Bally Sports’ Brandon Robinson, who spoke to people “closest” to Kyrie Irving, the unvaccinated Brooklyn Nets guard is holding out hope for a plant-based COVID-19 vaccine. Robinson’s report says “Irving has adopted a 100-percent plant-based diet, so he could wait until a plant-based version of the vaccine has been completed and approved.”

Though the Financial Times reported in October that a Japanese pharmaceutical company is hoping to apply for Canadian approval for its plant-based COVID-19 vaccine, it notes that no plant-based vaccine has ever been approved for human use. And even if Canadian authorities do eventually approve the vaccine, it’s unlikely that development would help Irving get back on the court anytime soon.

Robinson’s sources also said that Irving, who has made his anti-vaccine position quite clear, “doesn’t want to be viewed as an anti-vaxxer.” They said he just is “not trusting of the available vaccines,” as if that’s not an anti-vaccine stance. These sources close to Irving said he is not choosing to remain unvaccinated in order to be “be a voice for the voiceless,” directly contradicting what another Irving associate told The Athletic’s Shams Charania two months ago, when they described Irving’s refusal to get the vaccine as being motivated by the star’s desire to “be a voice for the voiceless.”

The Bally Sports report further explains that Irving doesn’t want to be vaccinated “because of bad experiences with his health due to basketball injuries over the years,” and then follows up with this non sequitur:

Since his freshman year at Duke, Irving has missed 261 out of 950 games, including the last five of the 2015 NBA Finals when a fractured kneecap required surgery and forced him to miss 29 games the following season. His 2018 knee surgery in Boston was a corrective procedure because the screws from his 2015 surgery caused an infection in his knee. Moreover, a 2019 shoulder injury became difficult to diagnose and ultimately forced him to have surgery in 2020.

“Based on his last three or four years, I can see why he’d be apprehensive,” a source shared.

Bally Sports

It’s unclear what the first part of that quote has to do with the second, but one thing is certain: The Eastern Conference-leading Nets shouldn’t expect Irving back anytime soon.

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