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USATSI

Kevin Durant made his long-awaited return to the Bay Area and put up 20 points, five rebounds and six assists to lead the Brooklyn Nets to an easy win over the Golden State Warriors. It turns out that was the last time we’ll see him for a while. 

The Nets announced on Friday that Durant had further testing done on his left hamstring strain and will now be out through the league’s All-Star break. Via the team’s press release:

After a routine follow-up MRI on his left hamstring, it was determined that Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant will require an additional recovery period that will result in him remaining out through the NBA All-Star break. The latest images provided a clearer picture of the hamstring and while we are confident that Durant will return at full strength, this extra recovery time will allow him to perform at the level at which he has been playing this season once he returns. Durant will continue to undergo rehabilitation and will be re-assessed following the break.

Durant has been even better than expected so far this season upon his return from a torn Achilles tendon, and through 19 games is averaging 29 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists while shooting 52.4 percent from the field and 43.4 percent from 3-point territory.

With Durant sidelined through the All-Star break, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis is expected to be named as an injury replacement for the Nets star. 

But it’s important to manage his workload to make sure he doesn’t do too much too soon and run out of gas by the postseason. To this point, Durant and the Nets actually haven’t had much of a choice on that front. COVID-19 protocols have forced Durant to miss two multi-game stretches already, which has wound up giving him extra days off.