The Nets performed their nineteenth straight sport with out Kevin Durant on Saturday evening, however they might not have to attend for much longer for his or her star to return.
Durant went by way of a second high-intensity exercise Saturday morning in Milwaukee and if he comes out of that wholesome, may solely want yet another earlier than he’s cleared to return from his sprained left MCL — although coach Steve Nash mentioned Durant is unlikely to return throughout a back-to-back Monday and Tuesday towards the Raptors.
“Every day closer,” Nash mentioned earlier than the Nets’ 126-123 win over the Bucks. “We’ll see. I expect in the next week he’ll be back for sure. But it could be quick, it could be the whole week barring setbacks.”
Nash described the high-intensity exercises as enjoying both half-court or full-court video games with the Nets’ “stay-ready” group. It stays to be seen when Durant will get the possibility to undergo a 3rd high-intensity exercise — presumably Monday morning in Brooklyn — however the Nets have a home-and-home Monday and Tuesday towards the Raptors earlier than internet hosting the Heat on Thursday.
Before sustaining the knee harm, Durant was placing collectively an MVP-caliber season, averaging 29.3 factors, 7.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists by way of 36 video games. His return would go a great distance towards reviving the Nets, as they attempt to keep away from the play-in match, with 21 video games left within the common season following the conflict with the Bucks on Saturday.
“I think with Kevin, he’s been a great healer throughout his career,” Nash mentioned. “The No. 1 factor is to get him again wholesome, feeling safe in his well being and his physique so he can transfer and be free when he’s again. Obviously he provides a ton to our workforce on each ends of the ground. He leads the league in scoring, one of many best scorers of all time.
“But we also know he helps us defensively and gives us more size and length. He’s a big miss for us and whenever he gets back he’ll definitely impact our team on both ends of the floor.”
While Ben Simmons continues his conditioning for a return to play, he’s coping with some again soreness, Nash confirmed. The coach mentioned the flare-up was not an harm, however as a substitute “normal soreness” for somebody who was ramping again up after not having performed a sport since June.
“It’s not a long-term thing,” Nash mentioned. “That’s just part of his process in returning to play. As you ramp up, you’re a little bit susceptible to certain things, as you would be with muscle soreness or tightness. He’s having a little tightness with his back.”
It was not clear whether or not the difficulty would additional delay Simmons’ Nets debut.
Simmons traveled to Milwaukee with the Nets, however isn’t but doing high-intensity exercises. Nash described Simmons as doing particular person work and mixing physio, power and conditioning and ability work to get his physique and sport again as much as enjoying pace.
“He’s not quite in [Durant’s] position, so as far as Kevin’s really close, [Simmons] still has some time ahead of him,” Nash mentioned.
Nash mentioned there was nonetheless no determination but whether or not Joe Harris (ankle) would wish one other surgical procedure.
“He’s going to keep working at it and trying to see if it continues to improve,” Nash mentioned.
Newly signed level guard Goran Dragic, enjoying for the primary time since Nov. 13, made his Nets debut and chipped in six factors in 14 minutes off the bench.