Brooklyn Nets small forward Kevin Durant has been out since January 15 due to a sprained left MCL. The two-time Finals MVP suffered the injury against the New Orleans Pelicans and the Nets have gone 5-16 without him.
The good news is that Durant will play on March 3 versus the Miami Heat. The two-time champion is excited to play again after such a long layoff and feels “energized.”
“I feel energized. I feel grateful for the opportunity to play,” Durant said, via Nick Friedell of ESPN. “It sucks being out and not being around the team. I felt bad not being able to help and contribute and try to turn some things around for us. But get an opportunity tonight and hopefully moving forward where I can inject what I do into this team and hopefully it provides some good results.”
Durant is averaging 29.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists on the season while shooting 52.0% from the field, 37.2% from beyond the arc and 89.4% from the free-throw line. The Nets desperately need the future Hall of Famer back in the lineup. They are only in eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings and Kyrie Irving still can’t play at home and Ben Simmons is dealing with a back issue.
Durant remains confident that the Nets can get back on track. However, he doesn’t want fans to label him as a “savior.”
Durant: I Don’t Look at Myself as a Savior
Durant doesn’t want to be called the Nets’ “savior” since he knows it will take a full team effort to turn things around.
“I don’t look at myself as that, as a savior,” Durant said, via Friedell. “But I know what I can do and how much I can help this team and what we’re missing as a group, but I’m not trying to go out there and win a game by myself tonight or make it all about me. I just try to go out there and help and be a good teammate and do what I do. I know what I bring to the table and try to do it to the best of my abilities.”
The Nets are 4.5 games back of the Boston Celtics for the sixth seed in the East. To automatically qualify for the playoffs, Brooklyn has to be a top-six seed in the conference. Barring a major collapse from the Celtics, it appears Durant and Co. will be in the play-in tournament.
“We are cutting it close. There’s under 20 games left in the season, but that’s the situation we’re in, that’s the circumstances we’re in,” Durant said, via Friedell. “So what? We got to go out there and figure it out.”
Durant may be rusty against the Heat since he hasn’t played since January 15, but it won’t take long for the one-time MVP to get his rhythm back. After all, KD is one of the best scorers in NBA history.
Durant Will Be His Usual Stellar Self for Nets
Durant has career averages of 27.1 points. He’s fourth in NBA history in points per game and has won four scoring titles.
The Slim Reaper will produce at a superstar level for the Nets to close out the season since he’s an all-time great player. It’s up to Durant’s teammates to follow his lead and play at a high level for the Nets to close out the regular season strong.
“We know what the standings are,” Durant said, via Friedell. “We know everybody’s telling us every day how far we’re dropping and where we may end up, constantly telling us the situation we’re in. But we understand that and know that each day is important, so we’re focused on tonight and just keep plugging away.”