NEW YORK – Kevin Durant, who is out for the Brooklyn Nets with a hamstring strain, is scheduled to have more pictures of the injury next week. Head coach Steve Nash said the hope is that those explorations will dictate a clearer return timeline for Durant.
Nash made it clear that even if the scan shows progress, Durant won’t be back in game action right away.
“He hasn’t played in a month,” Nash said Wednesday. “So no matter what the scan says, there will still be an appropriate acceleration time to make sure we put him in a position to finish the season strong.”
Nash said Durant can currently do half-court work and shooting drills. He’s still not playing five-on-five in practice or “all over the court, sprinting.” Durant stayed in Brooklyn to work with his physical therapist while the team headed to Houston for its final game before the All-Star break.
Thursday will be the 10th straight game Durant has missed. Nash said that while he can’t completely rule it out, team medical staff don’t believe Durant’s persistent left hamstring strain was affected by the June 2019 right Achilles tear that caused him to miss an entire season.
“We don’t feel like these two are related at all,” Nash said. “He is doing really well at the moment, and we all feel very positive about the direction he is going. But we have to be very cautious because he is a really important player for us.”
Durant last played for Brooklyn on February 13 against his former team, the Golden State Warriors. Since then, the Nets’ roster has changed. The Nets added six-time NBA All-Star Blake Griffin, who will not play the Celtics on Thursday. He’s on the candidate list for left knee injury maintenance.
“I’m not injured at all,” Griffin said Wednesday night. “I haven’t played in three weeks so I think it’s smart to push myself.”
Griffin said he plans to speak with the Nets’ coaching staff at the end of the week and plan when he will make his Brooklyn debut. Nash said he sees Griffin fitting in with the Nets as a small ball center who can space the court by making 3s.
Griffin, speaking to reporters for the first time since joining the Nets, said Durant was the most active player in drafting him to Brooklyn. Griffin said he ultimately chose to sign with Brooklyn because he felt he could have an impact as a great who can also make the plays easier.
“Every time you have these types of players, you need guys around you to take that pressure off,” Griffin said of Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden. “And then for me, it’s about playing meaningful basketball, playing in the playoffs and fighting for a championship.”