NEW YORK — Kevin Durant will make his return to the Nets’ lineup this week. Steve Nash just isn’t sure which day.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the Nets’ matchup against the Bulls on Sunday, Nash could not pinpoint exactly which game the All-Star forward will return. Durant has missed 22 straight games with a hamstring injury, and the Nets are facing a back-to-back with a looming game against the Knicks on Monday.
“I am not certain on Monday. I think that’s an outside possibility,” Nash said. “But I also couldn’t say, like, he’s in any stretch probable for Monday. I think it’s just wait and see. But it does look positive that this week sometime there’s a high probability he can return.”
A return against the Pelicans on Wednesday makes the most sense, as the New York Daily News suggested last week.
Durant is averaging 29 points, seven rebounds and five assists per game this season and was voted an All-Star captain. He has only appeared in 19 games this season due to injury and a pair of run-ins with the league’s coronavirus health and safety protocol.
Durant’s hamstring hindered his ability to run at full-speed and he only recently advanced to playing four-on-four in team practice.
“It was good to get some of that stuff in, transitioning from offense to defense, stuff I haven’t done in a couple of weeks,” he said on Thursday. “It’s good to get a few of those sessions in before I want to jump into an NBA game, and I think that’s what we’ve been doing the last few days and what we’re gonna do going forward.”
The Nets have changed a lot since Durant’s last been on the floor. They have added 13 All-Star appearances worth of talent in Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge. They have also found their stride, winners of 20 of their last 23 games entering Sunday’s matinee.
Adding Durant back to a mix that already includes James Harden and Kyrie Irving gives the Nets the potential to refine one of the more lethal offensive attacks in NBA history. That’s only if the Nets can finally stay healthy.
“Well that would be tempting fate, my friend, because if I say yes, then someone else will get hurt and I’m not going down that road,” Nash joked. “So, there’s a good chance Kevin will return to play this week and the rest of it I’m not going to touch.”