Nets’ Kevin Durant sidelined with isolated MCL sprain; Expected to miss month

Miami Heat forward Haywood Highsmith, left, swats the ball away from Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant, center, as center Bam Adebayo (13) attempts to catch the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Miami.
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

The Nets will be without Kevin Durant for at least the next two weeks due to an injury he suffered in Sunday night’s win over the Miami Heat. 

Durant was diagnosed with an isolated MCL sprain of the right knee after getting testing done on Monday. The Nets superstar will be reevaluated in two weeks, the team said in a statement, but ESPN reported that he is expected to miss a month due to the injury.

The injury occurred in the third quarter against the Heat when Jimmy Butler had a shot blocked by Ben Simmons and Butler fell back into Durant. Butler made contact with Durant’s knee and Brooklyn’s cornerstone player immediately grabbed it in pain. 

Durant did attempt to stay in the game briefly before having to ask to check out because of the pain. He finished with 17 points in 30 minutes of work before exiting the game. 

He was said to be in good spirits after the game, according to Kyrie Irving. 

“He’s in good spirits, as we all are,” Irving told reporters in Miami. “The strength of our team is us picking each other up, and being ready for whatever is thrown at us.”

The injury to Durant comes at a time when the Nets had finally started to get their footing under them. Brooklyn is just one game back of the Boston Celtics for first in the Eastern Conference and the Nets have won 18 of their last 20 games. 

Additionally, Durant has been having one of the best years of his career to date, averaging 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. All of this has come while he has shot a career-best 55.9% from the field. 

The Nets are hoping to avoid a repeat of last season when they faltered without Durant when he sprained his MCL on Jan. 15 and was out until March 3. Brooklyn went 5-16 in the stretch without him and lost 11 straight games at one point. 

Brooklyn will play six games before Durant is reevaluated, which includes Thursday’s game against the Boston Celtics. 

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