Three words gave the Brooklyn Nets (29-17) and fans hope while simultaneously paving the way for a future that remains uncertain with superstar Kevin Durant and the team providing an update on his recovery from a sprained MCL – an injury Durant notes he has had three times now in his career.
Durant told reporters, “I feel better,” in his rehab but then went on to suggest that the final decision is in the hands of the team doctors despite what may be at stake.
“I want to play tomorrow if I can. So, that’s what my sense of urgency is,” Durant said via SportsNet New York’s Nets’ feed on Twitter. “Obviously I don’t want to rush anything. I want to make sure I’m 100%.”
The 12-time All-Star may be in luck.
Kevin Durant May Be Healthy By All-Star Break
“I’m told there’s optimism he could be healthy enough to play before the All-Star break and then play in the game,” Shams Charania said on ‘The Rally’ on January 24. “There’s clearly a desire on Durant’s part. But, listen, the Nets are known to be cautious with their players. They want to make sure that he’s going to be 100% for their playoff run as well.”
This is in line with reporting from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that there will still be some question of whether or not it “makes sense” to bring Durant back for just a few games before the All-Star break which begins on February 16 with the game itself on February 19.
The Nets did release a positive statement noting the satisfaction with Durant’s progress from Dr. Riley Williams III.
“I wasn’t feeling sorry for myself or why me,” Durant said of his mindset following the all-too-familiar diagnosis. “It’s like, s***, another year not playing against my old teammates, another year – at that point – maybe missing the All-Star Game, not playing against LeBron James at home – stuff like that I look forward to.”
That little interjection of “at that point” could be a big key in the decision for both Durant and the Nets. He sounded very much aware of his own NBA mortality speaking of missing out on playing in Golden State over what will be the last three years.
Having dealt with multiple leg injuries and in his 15th season Durant isn’t taking any chances.
“I want to play as many games as I can…But I know I got to take my time and make sure I go through my rehab right to get back out on the floor.”
Kevin Durant Pointing Fingers
Durant said that he “knew exactly what happened” when the injury occurred and went into a lengthy explanation of just what should have happened during the play. But the bottom line, it seems, is that he feels the injury was completely avoidable.
He’s also sure about where the blame lies for it happening.
“It’s part of basketball as well,” Durant said. “I could have put myself in a better position to not get injured. This my third time feeling great and a freak injury happens like this. So I got to put myself in a better position on the floor to avoid stuff like that. So, it wasn’t a feeling of, ‘woe is me’ or ‘s***, why me’. It is what it is.”
Durant said that he does not want to “tease” himself so he has avoided picking up a basketball in his time being injured since he could not go full-speed.
Warriors star Draymond Green has remarked on the pace with which Durant practices.
He also spoke with pride about his team’s ability to overcome a rough go of it without him before settling in. They lost four straight games before turning things around with back-to-back victories on the road.
Nets Face Tall Task Without Kevin Durant
“When you missing one of your starters it’s always going to be a rough first couple of games. But I figured that the coaching staff and the players would come together and figure out the best way for us to play and we did that the last two games, going there and beating two good teams. The reigning champions, who’ve been playing great at home. I just think that was a character win and shows who we are as a group mentally and physically.”
For all of the discussion about the Nets possibly adding a big body at the trade deadline, they have found a way to right the ship in the face of adversity. That undoubtedly bodes well for when Durant returns but it will be a dogfight – one that he is anxious to take part in.
“Watching those games I get excited to get back out there and try to help as well.”
Their next task will be a visit to the Philadelphia 76ers and a hobbled Joel Embiid before a three-game homestand against the Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks, and Los Angeles Lakers.