Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant was re-evaluated on January 24, two weeks after he suffered an MCL sprain against the Miami Heat. Durant got cleared to resume running and basketball activities in his rehab but was not cleared to return to the starting lineup. Durant will get his knee evaluated again, next week. Per ESPN Adrian Wojnarowski, Durant’s agent Rich Kleiman says the Nets star “remains hopeful” that he can return before the All-Star break.
“I spoke with Kevin Durant’s business partner and manager, Rich Kleiman, tonight, and he tells me KD remains hopeful that he can return and play on All-Star weekend. He certainly wants to be a part of All-Star, that’s February 19th. He likes the way his rehab is going, how he looks on the court, and most importantly, how he feels,” Wojnarowski said on NBA Countdown on February 1. (via @_Talkin_NBA)
“I think for Kevin Durant to play and return and be a part of All-Star weekend, you would expect he probably needs to play a game or two before the Nets’ All-Star break.”
The latest Nets news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Nets newsletter here!
Kyrie Irving Sends Strong Message on Celtics Dominance
If one thing has been made clear in Durant’s absence, it is that the team needs him to have any shot at this year’s title. That was apparent in the Nets’ last game against the Boston Celtics when they suffered a whopping 43-point loss.
The Celtics are the team that eliminated the Nets from the playoffs last year via a 4-0 sweep in the first round. Boston has been convincingly dominant over the Nets dating back to last season, as they have beaten Brooklyn in 10 consecutive meetings.
With the Celtics owning the best record in the NBA, the Nets will likely have to see them if they hope to get to the NBA Finals this season. Nets star Kyrie Irving says he doesn’t currently have the answer for how the Nets can finally get another win over the Celtics, but he won’t stop trying to figure it out.
“As a competitor, I’m not going to stop until I figure out what this methodology is to the Boston Celtics right now and why they’re so hot. I think I have a main reason in just how connected they are and how much they play together and how many minutes they’ve logged in together. Again, that chip on their shoulder. You can see it; you can feel it,” Irving said after the loss.
“Tonight, I felt like we were just one of those teams in the way. We just can’t be one of those teams in the way. We’ve got to be one of those teams that stands up to them and at least shows them that we’re going to be competition for them moving forward, which I believe we are.”
Insider Makes Revelation About 2017 Kyrie Irving Trade
Kyrie has an extensive history with the Celtics. He was infamously traded to Boston in the summer of 2017 after three consecutive trips to the Finals with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The move to the Celtics came as quite a surprise to people, especially because Irving and the Cavs had eliminated the Celtics from the playoffs convincingly months prior. But according to Jake L. Fischer of Yahoo Sports, Irving never listed the Celtics as one of his preferred traded destinations.
“Irving did not have Boston on the list of preferred teams his representation had delivered to Cleveland leadership either. However, that omission was by design,” Fischer writes.
“According to multiple sources familiar with the matter, while Irving’s then-agent Jeffrey Wechsler informed Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert that his client preferred to be dealt to either the Spurs, Knicks, Timberwolves, or Heat, the list intentionally excluded the Celtics — the franchise Cleveland had just faced in that previous season’s Eastern Conference finals.”
With Irving set to become an unrestricted free agent in a few months, it will be interesting to see what he decides to do.