That may be about to change.
Brooklyn coach Steve Nash on Sunday provided an encouraging update on the status of Durant and Irving, both of whom have recently missed games.
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Nash Provides Updates on Durant & Irving
Regarding Irving, the news is good: Nash said the guard will play Monday when the Nets host the Minnesota Timberwolves at Barclays Center, according to a report Sunday by ESPN’s Malika Andrews. Irving, who is averaging a career-high 28.1 points and 5.7 assists this season, had missed the past three games. He was away from the team over that span while his fiance gave birth to their child.
Durant’s status is a bit murkier. The 11-time All-Star, who continues to rehab from a strained left hamstring, won’t play against the Timberwolves, Nash said, per Andrews.
Nash added he doubts that Durant, who hasn’t played in a game since February 13, will play at all this week. The Nets have three more games this week: at home against the Houston Rockets and Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, before heading to Chicago for a game against the Bulls on Sunday.
“There’s still steps for him to take, although he looks great, [he] is progressing and will definitely be back with us,” Nash said, via Andrews. “It’s just, I don’t think this week is likely.”
With the Nets continuing to win games in Durant’s absence — they’re 15-3 in the 18 games he’s missed due to his hamstring strain — they’ve erred on the side of caution with regard to his return.
According to Andrews, Nash said that Brooklyn is prioritizing Durant’s long-term health ahead of what they hope will be a championship run later this year.
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When Durant finally does return to the court, he’ll be playing with some new teammates. While Harden and Irving have led the Nets in Durant’s absence, GM Sean Marks recently signed former All-Stars Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge to pad Brooklyn’s depth.
All of a sudden, the Nets have a crowded frontcourt. The unit also includes DeAndre Jordan, Nic Claxton, Jeff Green and Reggie Perry.
“We’ll see,” Nash said when asked how he sees minutes being distributed for Brooklyn’s big men once Durant returns, via SNY. “Something that I can’t predict. We’ll see how it all fits together and it’ll present itself. But right now I can’t predict how that’s going to be with it being any more than a prediction. So we’ll just see how it goes. We have lots of depth, lots of options and we’re excited about it.”