NEW YORK — Kevin Durant said he’d love to play in the All-Star Game next month, but he wouldn’t do anything to disrupt his MCL sprain’s healing process if it was in his best interest to sit out even after the break.
“I want to play tomorrow if I can,” Durant said in his first comment since suffering the injury earlier this month. “That’s my sense of urgency. Obviously, I don’t want to rush anything. I want to make sure I’m 100%. But yeah, I want to play. I want to be a part of all these events.”
“I missed going back to Golden State, my former home. So it’s been three years since I’ve done it. You see all this stuff going through you, so I want to be involved in it all. I know I have to take my time and make sure I’m going to rehab and get back on earth.” .
The Brooklyn Nets announced Tuesday that Durant will begin running and court activities and will then be reevaluated in another two weeks. He suffered a sprained MCL when Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler accidentally fell on his right knee on January 8.
This is the third time in six years—and the second season in a row—that Durant has had this exact injury, and it all happened the same way: A player accidentally fell on Durant’s leg. However, Durant wondered if he could have done something differently to avoid being in that situation, saying he watched all three plays to see if that was the case.
“That play, I think Seth [Curry] “Jimmy guarded the post, and I should have doubled, rather than slowly bleed the paint,” Durant said. “As I was unloading, I was just standing there watching. I wasn’t even guarding my leg. I wasn’t even hitting anybody. So I should have run and doubled over and got Seth out of Jimmy there, and that probably wouldn’t have happened.”
However, that doesn’t change the fact that it happened, and that Durant and the networks have to deal with the repercussions. Durant said he will not attend the game between the Line Networks and the Philadelphia 76ers Wednesday night (7:30 ET, ESPN). Since James Harden and Ben Simmons were traded for each other, that makes it four games, including pre-season contest in October, without both teams being at full strength.
Durant said he got into a good groove during his rehab sessions and that he didn’t want to get out of the rhythm by going on the road to watch a game.
But while the Nets lost four games with Durant out of the lineup before wins at Phoenix on Friday and Golden State on Sunday, Durant said there are too many variables this season to compare to last season, when the Nets collapsed after his injury last January.
“I don’t look at it that way,” Durant said. “It’s a different year, a different time. It looks the same situation, but it’s a different time. It’s hard to compare anything.
“It’s always tough when one of the key players gets out of the lineup and you try to re-adjust quickly like that. It’s going to take a while. It took us four games. Luckily we’re still 12, 13 .500 games, so it was great to take that stretch.” The little one and you’re learning so we can go better. It was hard to pass, but it was really needed to take those blocks.”
While it’s obviously hard for the Nets to be without their best player – especially after a stint in which they went 19-3 to turn their season around after their ugly start – there’s no one more frustrated than Durant. Himself. After three injury-riddled seasons to begin his time in Brooklyn — he missed the entire 2019-20 season to recover from a ruptured Achilles tendon, then played a combined 90 games over the past two seasons — Durant has missed just one game this season until his injury. knee.
As a result of the timing of that, not only will he miss the other return game in San Francisco, but he also won’t be able to take on LeBron James when he comes here later this month in his hunt to catch Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the player. The NBA’s all-time scoring leader, May will miss two games with Philadelphia and may also miss another All-Star Game on Feb. 19.
“Yeah,” Durant said when asked if there was any “here we go again” sense of his recent injury absence. “But I didn’t feel sorry for myself.
“I was like, ‘One more year,’ of not playing against my old teammates. Another year, at that point, I’d probably miss the All-Star Game and not play against LeBron James at home. Things like that I’m looking forward to. On top of playing all of the A match, I look forward to this stuff.But it’s also part of basketball.
“Like I said, I could have put myself in a better position and not get injured. It’s my third time. I feel great and a strange injury happens like that… It’s what it is.”
Meanwhile, the Nets’ focus in Philadelphia will — as usual — be on Simmons, who may face former teammate Joel Embiid for the first time since the trade. Nets coach Jack Vaughn said he wants to see more aggression and assertiveness as Simmons advances the ball.
“I think he definitely made some strides that way,” Vaughn said. “Now he is [doing it for] More property. Let’s make it happen. And a lot. more. We will continue to order more from him.
“We talked about it today. Ben is very comfortable with the ball in his hands… Now we’re asking him to do other things with the basketball, without the basketball, and I think he’s growing in those areas. So there’s some space we’re asking him to grow, and that’s a little bit different, And we think we can make some money with it.”