Heading into the 2019 NBA playoffs Kevin Durant was trending towards becoming the undisputed best player in the world. He was coming off of back-to-back NBA titles with the Golden State Warriors to go along with back-to-back NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Awards. Most people thought for sure that Durant and the Warriors were going to complete the trifecta that year. But Durant suffered a strained calf in the Warriors’ second-round matchup against the Houston Rockets that held him out until Game 5 of the NBA Finals where tragedy awaited him. KD went down with a torn Achilles in the first half of the contest. An injury that would hold him out of action for the next 18 months.
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LeBron James Sounds off on Kevin Durant’s Comeback
Durant returned from that injury perhaps a better player than he ever has been. This season at age 33 he is in prime position to win this year’s NBA Most Valuable Player award. It would be the second of his career. Although Durant came back better than full-strength, there was doubt if he would ever return to his original form according to Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James. But LeBron says that there was never a doubt in his mind that KD would eventually return to form.
“There was never any doubt from myself or anybody in this league,” LeBron told reporters per Landon Buford. “I heard there was only like really 1 group of people that had any doubt on him coming back full strength. Not going to name them.”
Nets Have Barely Practiced in Wake of COVID Outbreak
As it stands now the Nets will be without Durant and several other players for their Christmas Day matchup with LeBron and the Lakers. Like many other teams in the league, the Nets have been ravaged with a surplus of players in health and safety protocols. Nets head coach Steve Nash says that the team has also struggled to get in any consistent practice time ahead of their matchup with the Lakers.
“What we’ve been able to do was there were a couple of days we had to shut everything down just out of precaution. Once we got back to a cadence, healthy guys could do one-on-O workouts but no group workouts. It basically started up yesterday and today those guys are back on the court in isolation. We haven’t been able to do a lot but we do what we can and we’ll continue to adapt as the rules and mandates come in,” Nash said to reporters per NetsDaily.
“I think it’s to be determined. The guys that are healthy can do one-on-O workouts, so we’re hopeful there can potentially be a group session but not certain yet with all the cases. It’s to be determined. We’re hopeful we can have one but like I said, that’s to be seen.”
Despite having several of their games postponed the Nets still find themselves sitting alone in the top spot in the Eastern Conference Playoff standings. Durant’s return is looming but even more important is the pending return of Kyrie Irving who is slated to return early in the new year.
All hope seemed lost for the Nets at the beginning of the season, but as it progresses, they look more and more like legit title contenders.