There’s a possibility that Kevin Durant, who has been out since spraining the MCL in his left knee on Jan. 15, could return to the court tonight against the Miami Heat at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. If not, Sunday’s road matchup against the Boston Celtics could be the day.
After last Saturday’s surprising 126-123 win over the Bucks in Milwaukee, led by Kyrie Irving’s season-high 38 points, Nets head coach Steve Nash was confident Durant would be back in the lineup in the coming days.
“I expect in the next week he’ll be back for sure,” he responded when asked what the team’s expectations were.
Conscious, and extremely sensitive to Durant’s long-term physical well being, Nash shared the organization’s priority. “The No. 1 thing is to get him back healthy, feeling secure in his health and his body so he can move and be free when he’s back.”
Nash has a number of items to manage. The overall health of his roster, Ben Simmons’ Nets debut, Joe Harris’ return from injury and Kyrie Irving’s availability line his list. Nash had to add himself as he sat out Monday night’s game versus the Toronto Raptors in Brooklyn, a 133-97 blowout loss, after being placed in COVID-19 health and safety protocols shortly before the game started. Assistant Jacque Vaughn headed the team.
Nash was also out for Tuesday’s game, a rematch with the Raptors in Toronto. Nash’s unexpected sidelining on Monday came on the day New York City Mayor Eric Adams discussed the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates, which continue to disallow the unvaccinated Irving from playing at Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden.
“I want Kyrie on the court. I would do anything to get that ring. So badly I want it, but there’s so much at stake here,” said Adams during a midday interview with CNBC.
“I spoke with the owner of the team. We want to find a way to get Kyrie on the court, but this is a bigger issue,” emphasized Adams.
“I can’t have my city closed down again. It would send the wrong message just to have an exception for one player when we’re telling countless number of New York City employees, ‘if you don’t follow the rules, you won’t be able to be employed.’”