In the second quarter of the Brooklyn Nets vs New Orleans Pelicans game Saturday night, Kevin Durant left the game with a knee injury after colliding with Nets guard Bruce Brown. He was able to walk off the court on his own strength but there was some obvious concern about the severity of the injury to the league’s leading scorer.
Durant would go on to miss the rest of the game as he was waiting to be evaluated Sunday morning. It was reported by NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski that Durant was diagnosed with an MCL sprain and that he would be able to return after a four-to-six week rehabilitation period.
Last season was Durant’s first season on the court for the Nets after being out for the 2019-20 NBA season, recovering from the Achilles injury he suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals. During that shortened season, Durant played 35 out of 72 games as he took games off to rest. He also endured two injuries that season that caused him to miss time but neither were as severe as the injury he suffered Saturday night.
This season KD has played in 36 of the team’s 42 games, playing in the second half of back-to-backs. There was some concern about how many minutes he was playing this season but Durant made it a point that he was willing to play however many minutes he needed to for the Nets. He even joked about dying on the court.
The Nets have not been at full strength for the majority of the season. Sharpshooter Joe Harris is still out, recovering from left ankle surgery with no clear timetable on his return. Nic Claxton missed a good bit of time due to illness and the majority of the team missed time at some point of the season due to being in COVID protocols.
With no real consistency, it has been tough for this team to find their identity but we’ve seen how they’ve been able to figure it out at different points of the season. Lately, Steve Nash has been inserting Nets rookies into the starting lineup and they’ve been performing well. With Durant out for an extended period of time, expect to see Nash rely on their production some more.
The Brooklyn Nets are about to embark on a four-game road trip, so that means All Star guard Kyrie Irving will be available for those games. Matter of fact, 11 of the next 15 games will be on the road so we’ll be seeing more production from Irving during this time. Durant’s absence gives Irving the chance to build chemistry with other members on the team that are filling in his minutes. The Nets are currently second in Eastern Conference standings and this will be the biggest test they’ve had to face all season. We’ll see how they perform during this time without their primary option.