Nets fans rejoiced on Wednesday when the team made it official that Kevin Durant would be returning to the court for the first time in nearly two months.
Durant has been out with a strained hamstring since February 13.
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Nash Was Saving Durant for Emergency Substitution
While Durant was active for Wednesday’s matchup, he did not start the game as Nets head coach Steve Nash made a game-time decision to bring him off of the bench. Durant detailed why that decision was made after the win.
“I was at a cap in minutes and he [Nash] wanted to see if it was a close game he wanted to be able to throw me in there in the fourth [quarter]. So he decided to compromise a few minutes early in the game to see what happened later on,” Durant told ESPN’s, Malika Andrews.
“It was one of those exercises that we thought about yesterday and wanted to see how it worked.”
The Severity of His Injury Surprised Durant
Durant missed 23 games due to his strained hamstring. An injury that was originally slated to sideline him for a couple of weeks at the worst.
“Initially, I didn’t think it was that bad – just a regular strain. Then we got the second scan, and they say it was a little deeper than that,” Durant said to reporters on Thursday via NetsDaily.
Averaging 29.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game, KD is considered the most integral member of the Nets this season. As much as he wanted to make a quick return, Durant understood the severity of the ailment and aired on the side of caution.
“It was one of those things where I’m not feeling a ton of pain, but you don’t want to force one of these injuries and make it worse.”
The Depth of the Nets Has Been on Display
The three-headed monster of Durant, Irving, and Harden have only shared the court for seven games this season. Each star has had their own personal and injury complications, but the Nets have sculpted a team that renders a sort of “no need to worry” attitude.
Recently acquiring All-Star big men in Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge, the depth within the club gives other star players a sense of relief. Not to mention, their record is 23-9 without Durant on the floor, showing that even in missing their top scorer they can still produce.
The Eastern Conference has been nothing to write home about this season, with only three teams reaching 30 plus wins on the year, compared to the Western Conference’s six teams. However, the Brooklyn Nets’ bomb squad has been a spectacle to witness. And currently sitting at second place in the East, a championship is all but won at this point.
The Nets will have a long layoff as their next game isn’t until Saturday when they play the Los Angeles Lakers.