Kevin Durant made his long-awaited return to the Bay Area on Saturday night 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 Sunday that Durant has been diagnosed with a “mild” hamstring strain and at minimum won’t play in the next two games. Via the team’s press release:
Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant has been diagnosed with a mild left hamstring strain following an evaluation today. Durant will miss at least the next two games (Feb. 15 at SAC and Feb. 16 at PHX) while he receives treatment. Further updates will be issued as information becomes available.
This obviously isn’t good news, but it also doesn’t seem like this is particularly serious or something we need to worry about long term. If anything, it appears to be a convenient excuse to get Durant some more rest during the middle of a long road trip. It would not be a surprise at all if Durant is read to play next Thursday against the Los Angeles Lakers.
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.
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 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.