Kevin Durant will likely undergo MRI testing on his right knee on Monday, according to Brooklyn Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn (via Nick Friedell of ESPN).
Vaughn said Durant will likely get an MRI on Monday.
— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) January 9, 2023
Durant injured his knee late in the third quarter as Heat swingman Jimmy Butler drove to the rim and got his shot blocked by Nets point forward Ben Simmons. Butler fell back into KD’s knee, and the two-time Finals MVP stayed on the ground for a few moments before he remained in the game. The Nets called a timeout 30 seconds later as KD kept rubbing at the knee up and down the floor.
Durant went back to the locker room to get examined and didn’t return.
“He’s in good spirits as we all are,” Kyrie Irving said of Durant, per ESPN. “The strength of our team is us picking each other up. Just being ready for whatever’s thrown at us. I think one of the greatest qualities of our team is our bench and the way we support each other, despite who’s in the lineup. And now it’s time to go out and exemplify that until we find out the timeline with K and when he could be available again. So we just got to be mature about it.”
The injury couldn’t have happened at a worse time for Brooklyn. The Nets have won 18 of their past 20 games, going on a 12-game win streak that catapulted them into second place in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Brooklyn will have to rely on Irving and a next-man-up mentality to keep up their momentum and prevent a collapse like they suffered last year.
Nearly a year ago, Durant suffered a knee sprain on Jan. 15, 2022, that forced him out of action for close to two months. The Nets were 27-15 at the time and went 5-17 during his absence, including an 11-game losing streak. Brooklyn ultimately made the playoffs as a play-in team but got swept in the first round by the NBA Finals runner-up Boston Celtics.
KD has averaged 30 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game as he’s led the Nets back to the top of the Eastern Conference standings. It’ll be interesting to see how Brooklyn will survive his absence and how they play on learning from the lessons they learned during their collapse last year.