Nets' Kevin Durant is 'progressing,' but still not absorbing contact on court
Published in Basketball
NEW YORK — Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn said he received a “good update from the doctor” as it pertains to the MCL sprain that has kept star forward Kevin Durant off the floor for a month.
Vaughn, however, declined to go into the specifics of Durant’s injury progress, and shortly after he addressed reporters ahead of tipoff against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, both ESPN and Bleacher Report announced Durant isn’t expected to return to the lineup until after the All-Star break.
“He’ll continue to progress his on-court activities. So all was good, really good report,” Vaughn said. When asked for insight into what Durant is able to do on the court, Vaughn added: “I can say he has not done contact yet. But he’s been on the court, but has not done contact.”
Vaughn said he’s unsure about Durant’s next steps in recovery.
“He has not done contact yet. So I can’t say it’s a day away, two days away, four days away, but I could just tell you that he hasn’t done contact.”
The Nets’ coach is also unsure of whether or not Durant will play in the Feb. 19 NBA All-Star Game. Durant voiced his desire to play in a handful of games leading right into All-Star Weekend in a recent podcast appearance.
“I won’t step across that line a little bit, but what I’ll say is the days are adding up and he has progressed,” Vaughn said. “Whether that’s going to be enough of a progression, I can’t really answer that one.”
Vaughn said he was not privy to conversations about the team’s future between Durant and Nets management. ESPN reported Durant has been in conversations with Nets owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks about the direction of the franchise in the aftermath of the trade that sent his friend and co-star Kyrie Irving to Dallas.
According to that report, the Nets have told teams asking about Durant they have no intention of dealing him ahead of Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline.
”If these conversations did happen, I was not there,” Vaughn said. “So I assume it didn’t happen, but what I will say is Kevin wants to win, and the last thing I told this group on the floor is the expectations don’t change. I want to win. I want the group in the locker room to win. And so if your best player had a knack for winning and wanting to win the ultimate thing, then I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.”
Vaughn declined to speculate about Durant’s belief in whether or not the Nets can truly win a championship now that they’ve parted ways with Irving.
“What I can say is we have a group that continues to play hard and play a brand of basketball that is appealing to teammates, appealing to the league,” he said. “We play together. We play extremely hard. We don’t complicate things. A lot of things that Kevin stands for and has reiterated to me he believes in. So I have not gotten any indication from him that that’s changed.”
Durant was named an All-Star starter this season. He is averaging about 30 points, seven rebounds and five assists per game.
©2023 New York Daily News. Visit nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.