An MRI on Nets superstar Kevin Durant showed on Sunday morning that he had suffered a sprained MCL in Brookyn’s win over the New Orleans Pelicans, the team announced, providing the latest curveball thrown at the team this season.
Durant will return to the court at full strength after a “period of rehabilitation,” the Nets said in a news release. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that there was some optimism within the organization that Durant could return in 4-to-6 weeks from his rehab.
The injury occurred in the second quarter of Saturday’s 120-105 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. As Herb Jones drove to the basket, he collided with Bruce Brown and Brown fell backward into Durant.
Durant tried to walk around and remain in the game for a few minutes, but pulled himself out of the game and went right to the Nets’ locker room. The team described it as a left knee sprain.
KD limped to the locker room after an apparent knee injury.
Hope he's ok 🙏 pic.twitter.com/SiXVMjzI90
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 16, 2022
“Of course, it would be tough to lose him,” Nets head coach Steve Nash said after Saturday’s game. “No one wants to see that and we’ll obviously hope for the best outcome, but regardless of the outcome we have to continue to work, build and grow and get better and compete.”
Losing Durant for any amount of time is a tough blow for the Nets, who have only been getting their legs back under them more recently after a chaotic December and the return of all three of their superstar players. Kyrie Irving only returned to the court in a part-time capacity earlier this month.
Kyrie Irving is eligible to play because of his unvaccinated status, which limits the number of games Brooklyn’s “Big Three” is on the court together. Durant, Irving, and James Harden have only played together twice this season.
The Nets are slated to play their next four games away from Barclays Center.
“It’s difficult to see one of our leaders take an injury like that,” Harden said. “So hopefully, it’s not too bad. Hopefully, he’s able to be on the court on Monday.”
In the short term, that likely means more of the workload will fall on Harden and Irving while Durant works back to being healthy enough to play. The Nets will also need to see continued production from their younger players, who have stepped up in a big way during the wacky Nets season.
Rookies Day’Ron Sharpe, Cam Thomas, and Kessler Edwards combined for 48 points on Saturday night. The Nets will need that to continue while Durant is sidelined.
“Guys got to step up,” Harden said. “It’s simple. Obviously, we know how great of a player KD is and what he brings to the table each and every night consistently. So guys got to step up and fill that role and just continue to compete our butts off.”