The All-Star break didn't provide Kevin Durant with sufficient time to heal.
The Brooklyn Nets star is now slated for further testing on his strained left hamstring and faces an indefinite timeline. Head coach Steve Nash told reporters Wednesday that Durant will undergo imaging on his lingering injury next week. He doesn't know when Durant will return to the court.
"We were expecting the potential for this to be a month or whatever it may be," Nash said, per the New York Post. "So who knows? Who knows what the scan says? Who knows where this takes us and how soon he’s back?"
'We just need to be very cautious'
Nash noted that this will be the third imaging scan on the injured hamstring that forced Durant to miss nine straight games before the All-Star break. He said the first scan was inconclusive but the second scan indicated that Durant's timeline might be extended.
The injury is on the opposite leg of the right Achilles tendon tear that sidelined Durant for all of last season. Nash said that the Nets don't believe that the current injury is related.
"Through his history, through medical history and assessment, we don’t feel like these two are related at all," Nash said. "And he’s doing really well right now, and we all feel really positive about the direction he’s going.
"But we just need to be very cautious, because he’s a really important player for us.”
Durant's thrived since Achilles tear — when he's available
Despite the injury, Nash said that Durant's been able to do light on-court workouts and noted that "Kevin is getting better all the time." He has not participated in "high-speed running" or drills with his teammates. Nash described Durant's workouts as "tight-space shooting rhythm work."
Achilles tears are notoriously career-altering injuries. Since debuting with the Nets, Durant has looked very much like his nine-time All-NBA self, averaging 29 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists while shooting 52.4 percent from the floor and 43.4 percent from 3-point distance.
But that's when he plays. Durant has missed 18 of the Nets' 37 games.
Nets not motivated to rush Durant back
Since acquiring James Harden, the Nets have thrived en route to a 24-13 start, good for second place in the Eastern Conference. They've played well despite having only two of their big three of Durant, Harden and Irving available in several games. They went 8-1 in the nine games Durant missed leading up to the All-Star break.
Ensuring Durant doesn't risk further injury is the absolute priority here. The Nets want him healthy for the playoffs and the long term. They are fine running with Harden and Irving for now and have no motivation to rush Durant back a minute before he's fully medically cleared.
It may be a while before we see him again.
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