Credit: Bill Moore photo

When Kevin Durant fell onto Barclays Center’s hardwood floor at 3:35 of the second quarter on Sunday in the Nets’ preseason debut against the Washington Wizards, there certainly would have been a gasp of concern from thousands of fans in attendance under normal circumstances. But there were no fans in the arena due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Nets’ 114-110 win was Durant’s first game since he tore his Achilles in the 2019 NBA Finals as a member of the Golden State Warriors. His return was a culmination of all of the hard work put in over 500-plus days to recapture the form that has made the 32-year-old, now in his 13th season, a 10-time All-Star, league MVP in 2014, four-time NBA scoring champion, and back-to-back Finals MVP (2017 and 2018).

In an impressive 24 minutes of play against the Wizards, Durant scored 15 points, had three rebounds and three assists. He showed no pensiveness or signs he was favoring his Achilles.

“It felt great to be back in a routine, and get back on the floor and feel like a player again,” he said afterwards. “I didn’t think I played great. I felt I had some solid moments.”

Rookie head coach Steve Nash, making his debut, started a lineup of Durant, Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris.

The Nets will play one more preseason game, tomorrow, Dec. 18, against the Boston Celtics on the road, before beginning the regular season hosting the Warriors in Brooklyn.