Steve Nash wasn’t putting any timetable out for when he hoped to have the Nets’ cornerstone player back on the court. And he wasn’t looking to get hung up on the latest misfortunes for Brooklyn with Kevin Durant now sidelined for at least a month.
“I think we don’t have a timeline, and it’s also a few weeks before we re-evaluate it,” Nash said ahead of Monday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. “So, right now we’re just going to wait and see how it heels and how he recovers over the next few weeks, and then there will be more of an evaluation and hopefully some sort of timeline.”
When asked what grade the injury was, Nash told reporters that he “wasn’t allowed to give grades.”
The Durant injury over the weekend was just the latest hiccup in the Nets tough season. Brooklyn has had to deal with injuries and COVID and now after just two games with its “Big Three” back together, Durant is out with an MCL sprain.
ESPN reported over the weekend it would be a 4-to-6 week timeline for Durant to return.
Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving have only limited games together because of Irving’s unvaccinated status. He is unable to play games in New York City because of the current vaccine mandate. Regardless of how much time they get together, Nash was trying to make one thing clear.
“If they get a bunch of games together, great,” Nash said. “If they don’t, they don’t. And we’ll be playing the cards we’re dealt so it’s a little bit out of our hands. We just have to do the best we can. We can’t cry about it. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We got to keep building, see what we can learn, how we can grow during this period of Kevin being out and Joe (Harris) being out and how we can continue to move this thing forward so when they do come back, we’re in a better place.
“He can rejoin us in a place where we can feel better about where we are in that part of the season.”
The Nets are in the middle of a stretch that will see them play 11 of 17 away from the Barclays Center, which could help minimize some of the hole left by Durant. They’ll have Kyrie Irving for those games along with James Harden, but Nash doesn’t want to put too much on the shoulders of Irving.
“I want Kyrie to have the space to regain his rhythm,” Nash said. “Not overburden him with, ‘Now that Kevin’s out, you have to take over and lead the league in scoring.’ I want him to find his legs without feeling an extra burden.”
The Nets coach didn’t appear to be too concerned about how Durant would play once he’s back.
Durant suffered a similar injury during his time with the Golden State Warriors in 2017. Nash isn’t sure if it’s exactly the same injury as back then, but he remembered Durant coming back better than ever.
“He’s been through this type of layoff and he’s come back every time he’s been injured as good or better than ever,” Nash said. “So I think that should give him confidence that this is just another pause in his season, and then he’ll come back and be back at his full strength.”