Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant could be back relatively soon. The team announced Tuesday that he'll return to on-court basketball activities and running this week, and The Athletic reported that he could suit up again before the All-Star Game (Feb. 19) and participate in the game itself. Durant on Jan. 8.
The full update from the Nets:
Kevin Durant's right MCL sprain was reevaluated yesterday by Dr. Riley Williams III at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Dr. Williams is very pleased with Durant's recovery thus far, as he is progressing well and as expected. Durant will continue to strengthen his knee and begin running and on-court basketball activities this week. He is scheduled to be reassessed in another two weeks.
Initially, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Durant was expected to be sidelined for about a month. If he is cleared to play in two weeks, he will have missed almost exactly a month. In between Feb. 1 and the All-Star break, Brooklyn has a long homestand, with its only "road" game taking place at Madison Square Garden. If Durant is reevaluated in exactly two weeks, then the earliest he could return is Feb. 7 against the Phoenix Suns. After that, the Nets host the Chicago Bulls (Feb. 9) and Philadelphia 76ers (Feb. 11) before visiting the New York Knicks (Feb. 13) and hosting the Miami Heat (Feb. 15).
As Wojnarowski pointed out, Durant and the team will have to weigh the benefits of playing as soon as his body allows against the extra rest and recovery he could get by sitting out until after the break. Brooklyn's first game post-All-Star is Feb. 24 in Chicago.
The Nets were hopeless without Durant when he missed six weeks with a more severe MCL sprain last season, but Utah Jazz and Golden State Warriors. On the season, they have the NBA's ninth-ranked offense and seventh-ranked defense. In the 20 games before Durant's absence, they went 18-2.. Brooklyn is 29-17 this season, fourth in the Eastern Conference and one game behind the second-place Philadelphia 76ers, thanks in part to a . After losing four straight games in the immediate aftermath of Durant's injury, the Nets rebounded with road victories against the
Durant is having an MVP- and All-Defense-caliber season. In 39 games before the injury, he averaged 29.7 points on a career-high 67.3 percent true shooting, plus 6.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.5 blocks. Last week, Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo overtook Durant to lead all East players in total votes., the