Superstar’s Big Warriors Homecoming Will Have to Wait

Steph Curry Kevin Durant KD Warriors-Nets

Getty Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry greet each other following a game between the Golden State Warriors and the Brooklyn Nets.

Kevin Durant may have spent just three seasons in the Bay Area, but there’s no questioning the impact he had on the Golden State Warriors franchise. He averaged a 26-7-5 line over 208 regular-season games with Golden State and, more importantly, helped the club add two NBA titles to its trophy case.

In the wake of Durant’s 2019 move to the Brooklyn Nets, Warriors owner Joe Lacob went so far as to say that the team would one day raise the baller’s No. 35 to the rafters.

So, the fact that Durant was set to return to his old stomping grounds later this month — in a nationally televised game, no less — was a big deal.

While it’s true that he came back to the Bay for a game last February, fans weren’t allowed inside of Chase Center at the time. The upcoming, cross-conference battle was slated to be Durant’s first time playing in front of the Warriors faithful since his departure.

Now, though, fans will likely have to wait until next season to see their old fave.


Durant Will Miss Extended Time After MCL Injury


Kevin Durant went to the locker room after an apparent knee injury | #ShortsKevin Durant went to the locker room after an apparent knee injury | #Shorts ✔️Subscribe to ESPN+ espnplus.com/youtube ✔️ Get the ESPN App: espn.com/espn/apps/espn ✔️Subscribe to ESPN on YouTube: es.pn/SUBSCRIBEtoYOUTUBE ✔️ Subscribe to NBA on ESPN on YouTube: bit.ly/SUBSCRIBEtoNBAonESPN ✔️ Watch ESPN on YouTube TV: es.pn/YouTubeTV2022-01-16T01:48:11Z

Midway through the second quarter of the Nets’ Saturday night home bout with the New Orleans Pelicans, forward Herbert Jones was on a transition beeline for the basket. Brooklyn wing Bruce Brown was able to stay in front of Jones but when the two players collided, the former was sent tumbling into Durant’s left knee.

Although the two-time league MVP wanted to stay in the game it quickly became clear that something was amiss. He was subsequently pulled by Nets coach Steve Nash, never to return.

On the morning after the game, which Brooklyn won 120-105, the team announced that Durant had suffered a sprained left medial collateral ligament. Shortly thereafter, ESPN’s league insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Durant was expected to miss four to six weeks of action, adding:

Durant underwent imaging on Sunday morning after Saturday night’s injury, and a realistic benchmark for Durant could be a return following the All-Star break (Feb. 18-23), sources said. Nevertheless, the organization will err on the side of caution when it comes to Durant’s return.

In other words, no homecoming for KD this season unless it occurs during the NBA Finals.

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KD Is in the Midst of an MVP-Caliber Campaign

The Nets may have the best Big 3 in the Association, but Durant has been the glue that has held the team together this season. While Kyrie Irving was out due to non-compliance with New York City’s vaccine mandate and James Harden was still working himself back into shape, Durant was delivering gems on a nightly basis.

As of this writing, the 11-time All-Star is averaging a league-best 29.3 points per contest, while adding 7.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists. He also ranks third league-wide in VORP, fourth in offensive box plus/minus and fifth in win shares.

In the latest edition of NBA.com’s MVP ladder, he came in at No. 3 overall behind Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic.

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