Kevin Durant may make Nets return this week

Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant takes warmups prior to the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Barclays Center.
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Kevin Durant watch continues but it may not be for much longer.

The Nets cornerstone star is looking more and more likely to return to the court later this upcoming week after Brooklyn plays a home-and-home with the Toronto Raptors. That means that Durant could be back for the Nets meeting with the Miami Heat on Thursday.

Durant went through his second high-intensity workout on Saturday in Milwaukee and if he can complete his third in the coming days, the Nets staff would be able to clear him to play. Nets head coach Steve Nash revealed earlier this week that Durant and Ben Simmons would need to successfully go through three high-intensity workouts healthy before they could play.

[READ: Ben Simmons dealing with back soreness as he approaches Nets debut]

“Every day closer,” Nash said prior to the Nets win on Saturday. “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.”

The Nets have been waiting for their team to return to full strength, but suffered severely when they lost Durant to an MCL sprain in mid-January. The season began to shift significantly after that, falling to eighth in the Eastern Conference and going on an 11 game losing streak.

The Nets struggled to make up for Durant’s absence on both ends of the ball. with the offense having a hard time remaining consistent and the defense not being able to make timely stops. It was during this time as well that tension appeared to boil over with James Harden and his desire to leave Brooklyn began.

Durant has been the linchpin for Brooklyn’s success with an MVP caliber season through 36 games this year. He has averaged 29.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists.

The Nets will be relying heavily on Durant once he returns to help their fortunes through the final 20 or so games of the year, depending on when he plays.

“I think with Kevin, he’s been a great healer throughout his career,” Nash said. “The No. 1 thing is to get him back healthy, feeling secure in his health and his body so he can move and be free when he’s back. Obviously, he adds a ton to our team on both ends of the floor. He leads the league in scoring, one of the greatest 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.”