The bad news just keeps on piling up for the Brooklyn Nets. After back-to-back blowouts of the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors, it looked like the Nets were just scratching the surface of a season in which they would run away with the Eastern Conference.
Fast forward to the present day and the Nets are below .500 and have lost their starting shooting guard Spencer Dinwiddie for the remainder of the season.
To make matters more critical, they are about to lose yet another one of their starters for an extended period.
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Kevin Durant Will Be out at Least 1 Week
Last week following a loss to the Charlotte Hornets, both of Brooklyn’s stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant did not play the second game of a back-to-back against the Memphis Grizzlies.
The reason cited on the injury report was “injury recovery”, as both Kyrie and KD are coming off major offseason surgeries. Now Durant will be unavailable to play for the Nets for a second time this season, this time for a minimum of seven days, as mandated by the NBA’s COVID-19 standards.
“Nets star Kevin Durant is listed out Tuesday vs. Utah due to NBA’s coronavirus health and safety protocols,” Shams Charania of The Athletic tweeted out on Monday evening.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 4, 2021
The NBA Has Been Strict With Their COVID Protocols
Unfortunately, Durant is not the first NBA player that is being forced to quarantine due to contract tracing. Last month, several Houston Rockets players, including John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, were forced to quarantine due to contract tracing that occurred while getting haircuts at an apartment.
In a separate incident, James Harden was forced to self-quarantine and was fined $50,000 after being seen at a birthday bash for rap superstar Lil’ Baby. The league prohibits the attendance of players at indoor social gatherings of 15 or more people, as well as going to bars, lounges, clubs, or other establishments.
Commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA front office want to carry over the momentum of the 2020 Disney bubble. The NBA bubble rendered zero positive coronavirus tests over the span of four months. Now that the games are back to being played in arenas instead of the bubble, the numbers, while still relatively low, are beginning to climb. In the NBA’s testing period from December 16-23, two players out of 558 tested positive for the coronavirus.
Losing Durant Is Another Huge Blow for the Nets
Durant’s self-quarantine could not come at a worse time for the Nets. The 2014 NBA MVP is averaging 28.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.8 blocks per game on 51.4/45.5/88.5% shooting splits through six games. Despite KD’s ridiculous numbers, the Nets have still dropped four of their last five contests.
Ideally for the Nets, KD will only miss Brooklyn’s next four games during his seven-day quarantine, including faceoffs with the Utah Jazz, Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, and a marquee matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers. Durant would however be back for the battle of New York against the crosstown rival Knicks on Wednesday, January 13.