Brooklyn Nets star forward Kevin Durant has been on the shelf with a knee injury since mid-January. And the Nets have certainly missed his presence during that stretch (more on that in a bit).
However, head coach Steve Nash offered up a bit of good news as to when he expects Durant to return to the rotation.
“I think with Kevin he’s been a great healer throughout his career,” Nash said via CBS Sports. “So the No. 1 thing is to get him back healthy and feeling secure in his health and his body so he can move and be free. When he’s back, obviously he adds a ton to our team on both ends of the floor … one of the greatest scorers of all time. And we also know he helps us defensively; he gives us more size and length. So he’s a big miss for us, and whenever he gets back, he’ll impact our team.”
The Nets have struggled during Kevin Durant’s absence
To say the Nets have struggled without Durant in the lineup would be a gross understatement. Durant has missed the team’s last 18 games. During that stretch, the Nets have produced just four wins and they have dropped eight of their last 10 games heading into their Saturday night tilt against the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. Simply put, Brooklyn went from being one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference to the No. 8 spot. That said, if the playoffs were to begin today, the Nets would have to win a play-in game to qualify. This was not what the team envisioned when the season began.
Durant will return to a new cast of characters
Additionally, the roster will have a different look to it when Durant does return to the mix. Gone are James Harden and Paul Milsap. They were dealt to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and Andre Drummond. The deal also netted the Nets a pair of future draft picks as well. And Goran Dragic joined the team following a buyout with the San Antonio Spurs.
While the team has several new faces in the fold, Durant is optimistic about the cast of players he will be joining upon his return.
“I’m excited for our team,” Durant said of the trade. “Looking forward to finishing the season out with this new group and these new players. Playoffs are right around the corner so we got to fast-track it to get used to each other, but I’m excited. I think everybody got what they wanted.”
Although Durant’s return will certainly improve the Net’s playoff hopes, there’s still a fair amount of uncertainty as to how far he can lead this new-look ball club.