Brooklyn was back up to a Big Two, with Kevin Durant set to return for Sunday’s nationally televised clash against visiting Phoenix at Barclays Center.
Durant has missed the past three games with a left thigh contusion suffered Sunday in Miami. He lasted just 4:03 in the loss to the Heat before he got fouled by Trevor Ariza, taking an inadvertent knee to the leg from the Miami veteran.
Nets coach Steve Nash had raised hopes that Durant could be back at some point on this high-profile homestand, and that’s exactly what happened.
“He is day-to-day, so Friday or Sunday are very possible,” Nash had said. “I’m not sure when it would be or if it would be either of those games, but he is day-to-day, so if he keeps progressing at this rate I think Friday or Sunday are very possible.”
Durant had been listed as questionable for Friday’s win over Boston before eventually sitting out. And after initially being listed as probable against the Suns, he was upgraded to available, along with guard Tyler Johnson, who has been out himself with right knee soreness.
Any injury to Durant bears strict attention. He missed 18 months with a ruptured Achilles suffered in June 2019. Durant suffered through a bout with COVID-19, two more health and safety quarantines, and missed 23 straight games with a hamstring strain. He’d only returned from that injury on April 7, playing five games before getting forced out of the Miami game.
The Nets will still be missing five players Sunday against the Suns, including James Harden (hamstring), Nic Claxton (health and safety protocols), Spencer Dinwiddie (ACL) and Chris Chiozza (broken hand).