NEW YORK – There is a “high chance” that Kevin Durant will return to the court next week after missing more than seven weeks with a hamstring strain, Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash said Saturday. .
Nash said there is a chance Durant will play as early as Monday against the New York Knicks.
“I’m not sure on Monday,” Nash said. “I think it’s a possibility, but I can’t say he’s in probable pace for Monday either. I think it’s just wait and see. But it seems positive that this week, at some point, there is a high probability that he can come back.”
Durant last played Feb. 13 against the Golden State Warriors. Since then, the Nets have added veterans Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge to their roster. The Nets’ Big 3 of Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden have played just seven games together since Harden arrived in Brooklyn in mid-January.
On Thursday, Durant said he is feeling “very good” in his rehab and is “progressing quite well” toward his return to the court.
“Initially, I didn’t think it was that bad, just a regular sprain,” Durant said. “Then they did a second scan and they say it was a little deeper than that. I don’t feel much pain, but you don’t want to force one of these injuries and make it worse.”
Durant went on to say that he felt he had to be “smart” and “cautious” with his hamstring. Before Durant was sidelined, he was averaging 29 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists.
When the former league MVP returns, the Nets will be tasked with quickly building chemistry before the playoffs begin in mid-May. Nash feels that the friendships the group has built off the court should help them fit in well on the court. Still, Nash said the entire roster needs to play a few games together so they can iron out a rotation and curdle before the postseason begins.
Nash said he also feels the team needed to play challenging games together and “face some adversity” so they get a little familiar before facing that in a playoff game.
“I think a lot of first-year teams have a hard time competing for a championship, if only because of that collective history and experience,” Nash said. “So that’s something we have to accept and we have to get over.”