Durant Sidelined For 4-6 Weeks; Harden, Irving Time To Shine

Brooklyn Nets, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, NBA News
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The Brooklyn Nets received some troubling news in regards to the short-term status of Kevin Durant, who suffered a knee injury during the team’s 120-105 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Durant is expected to be sidelined for four-to-six weeks due to a sprained MCL. The timetable most likely will keep him sidelined through the NBA All-Star break in late February.

After the Brooklyn Nets diagnosed All-NBA forward Kevin Durant with a sprained MCL of his left knee, the franchise expects a four- to six-week rehabilitation before his return, sources told ESPN.

Durant has bene in the midst of a season worthy of being an MVP award recipient. Even after suffering his injury after 12 minutes of action against the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday, Durant is still averaging 29.2 points (league-best), 7.4 rebounds, and 5.8 assists on the season.

The stabilizing force on the Nets has been Durant when he’s been on the floor. In terms of regular season success, Brooklyn has a 24-12 record when Durant plays this season and went 23-12 last season when he was in the lineup.

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“Yeah, of course it will be tough to lose him,” Nash said, via ESPN. “You know no one wants to see that. We obviously hope for the best outcome. Regardless of the outcome, we have to continue to work, build and grow, and get better and compete.”

It will be up to James Harden and Kyrie Irving to shoulder the load while Durant is sidelined. The decision to bring back Irving could pay major dividends for the Nets in this upcoming stretch without Durant.

While Irving can only participate in road games, Brooklyn plays 11 of its next 14 games away from Barclays Center. His impact will be pivotal given that Joe Harris remains sidelined as Nic Claxton and LaMarcus Aldridge near their returns, but are also still sidelined.

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“Tonight what happened to KD and then Ky (Kyrie Irving) being able to play road games only and Joe (Harris), Nic (Claxton), LaMarcus (Aldridge), but we’ve been a resilient group all year, since I’ve been here,” James Harden said. “And we just got to keep going, keep pushing, keep pushing.”

Without the NBA’s leading scorer in Durant, two players who don’t garner the same level of attention as their superstar teammates but will be crucial are Cam Thomas and Patty Mills. With it being a home game, Irving was unable to play. As a result, both Thomas and Mills stepped up and managed to reach the 20-point threshold against the Pelicans.

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The Nets lack much separation in the standings from some of their Eastern Conference competitors. Brooklyn already trails the Chicago Bulls by a half game and are ahead of the Miami Heat by just a half game. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, and Cleveland Cavaliers all are within two games.

The Nets can at least take solace in the fact that when James Harden and Kyrie Irving played but Kevin Durant was sidelined, Brooklyn managed to post a 16-3 record in 19 outings.

The Brooklyn Nets return to action on Monday when they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.

About Grant Afseth 1057 Articles
Grant Afseth is a contributor to NBA Analysis Network who specializes in creating in-depth analysis. He also covers the Texas NBA teams for FanNation.