The Brooklyn Nets were dealt a brutal blow to their lineup on Monday.
Twelve-time All-Star Kevin Durant will spend at least a couple of weeks on the bench after suffering a MCL sprain in his right knee, an MRI revealed Monday. He is set to be re-evaluated in two weeks.
Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant has been diagnosed with an MCL sprain in right knee and will be re-evaluated in two weeks.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 9, 2023
Durant suffered the injury in the Nets’ 102-101 win against the Miami Heat on Sunday night. Heat forward Jimmy Butler went up for a short jumper, was blocked and fell backwards into Durant’s right leg. Durant immediately grabbed his right knee and exited the game early.
Kevin Durant injury pic.twitter.com/rbB2Kq0WBA— That's a highlight (@ClipIt_NBA) January 9, 2023
Durant currently leads the team in points per game (29.7) and is having an overall MVP-caliber season so far. It’s also worth noting that the 34-year-old has missed just one game this season and is averaging 36.0 minutes per game.
The loss, no matter how long, could shake up the situation in the Eastern Conference if it affects Brooklyn’s current momentum. The Nets have lost just two of their last 20 games, with Durant averaging over 30 points in that timeframe. At 27-13, they sit just one game behind the Boston Celtics for first in the East. In just the two weeks before Durant is re-evaluated, the Nets will host the Celtics this Thursday and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday before going on a four-game road trip through some of the bottom half of the Western Conference.
Brooklyn are scheduled to face off with the conference rival Philadelphia 76ers for the second time this season on Jan. 25 in Philadelphia, just a few days after Durant is set to be re-evaluated, and again in Brooklyn on Feb. 11. The 24-15 Sixers are currently fifth in the East.
Brooklyn fans might be feeling the worst type of deja-vu in this situation, and rightfully so. Almost exactly a year ago, on Jan. 15, 2022, Durant suffered an MCL injury in his left knee in a contest against the New Orleans Pelicans. He was sidelined for about a month and a half, in which time the Nets went 5-17 including an 11-game losing streak. However, it is being reported that there is optimism that this injury is less severe.
While Kevin Durant did miss six weeks with a left MCL sprain a season ago, there’s optimism that this is a less severe injury unlikely to cost him more than a month on the sidelines, sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/Dd5jU6bZkd— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 9, 2023
For now, the Nets will kick off their Durant-less stretch on Thursday when the East-leading Celtics travel to Brooklyn.