Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant will not play in the All-Star game next week in Salt Lake City, according to Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes. Durant has missed the last month after suffering an MCL sprain on Jan. 8 in Miami. Head coach Jacque Vaughn said Tuesday that the forward received a positive update on the injured knee after undergoing a second evaluation:
“Yeah, (Kevin got a) really good update from the doctor,” Vaughn said. “So he’ll continue to progress his on court activities. So, all was good, really good report.”
Durant began ramping up on-court activities in the last two weeks following his first evaluation. Vaughn said the former MVP has not yet progressed to contact workouts.
Durant recently said on his podcast that it would be “ideal” to return during the period between his next evaluation and the All-Star break. The Nets have four games during that span, the first of which is Thursday vs. Chicago. But Vaughn was non-committal when asked if Durant would be held out through the break:
“I won’t step across that line, but what I’ll say (is) the days are adding up,” the coach said. “He has progressed, whether that’s going to be enough of a progression, I can’t really answer that.”
ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday that the 13-time All-Star is not expected to return to Brooklyn’s lineup ahead of the break:
With eight days until the All-Star break starts for the Nets, Kevin Durant (MCL sprain) isn’t expected to return to team’s lineup until post-break, sources tell ESPN. Jacque Vaughn told reporters that there’s still no timetable for a return. https://t.co/mmkvOGahne
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 7, 2023
Durant was having one of the most efficient seasons of his career before being sidelined. In 39 games, the fourth-year Net averaged 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists on 55.9 percent shooting, the league’s best mark among 60 players attempting 14 or more shots per night.
Brookyln won 18 of 20, the best stretch in franchise history, before Durant went down. The Nets have fallen to fifth place in the Eastern Conference after posting a 5-8 record without their top player. After trading Kyrie Irving to the Mavericks Sunday, Brooklyn has reinforcements on the way with Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith expected to make their Nets season debuts Thursday vs. the Bulls.