Since back on Media Day last September, the Nets‘ decision-makers and Kevin Durant himself have been insisting that there are no plans to have the star forward return to the court this season. Durant, who continues to recover from a torn Achilles suffered last June, reiterated that point in a conversation with Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks (video link), ruling himself out for 2019/20 in the most definitive terms yet.
Asked by Rooks if there’s any chance of a return this season, Durant initially replied, “No, I don’t think so.” When Rooks pointed out that his reply left the door open, KD promptly closed it: “No! No. The best thing for me is to continue to rehab, get as strong as I can and focus on next season.”
It would have been fascinating to see the seventh- or eighth-seeded Nets get Durant back for the postseason and suddenly become a dangerous sleeper, but that scenario was never realistic. Brooklyn knew when it signed Durant to a four-year, maximum-salary contract that he almost certainly wouldn’t suit up for the club until year two.
While Durant’s absence was expected, the Nets have also been without their other star free agent signee for much of the season. Kyrie Irving has been limited to 20 games and reportedly re-aggravated his shoulder injury this week.
There have been no updates yet on Irving’s visit to a specialist, but Brian Lewis of The New York Post wonders if the ailment might ultimately bring Kyrie’s season to an early end. As Lewis notes, Irving previously opted for a cortisone shot over arthroscopic surgery. If the latest specialist recommends surgery, Irving could join Durant on the sidelines for the foreseeable future.