Nets' Kevin Durant Says He 'Expected' Strong Performance in Return from Injury

Blake SchusterContributor IApril 8, 2021

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Kevin Durant's first outing since a hamstring injury on February 13 couldn't have gone much better for the small forward or his Brooklyn Nets team.

Durant posted 17 points with seven rebounds and five assists on 5-of-5 shooting from the field. He went a perfect 5-of-5 from the free-throw line as well to finish plus-22 in 19 minutes of play.

It was everything Durant knew he was capable of doing in his return. 

"I expected to come out here and play the way I played," Durant said postgame. "I wasn't trying to ease into the game. I just wanted to go out there and dive right into the action."

The Nets were still extremely cautious with Durant, as is to be expected with a player of his caliber after missing nearly a month of action.

Head coach Steve Nash did not insert the forward into the starting lineup and instead allowed Durant to use the additional time to work with the training staff. The extra warm-up time paid dividends rather immediately.

When Durant finally entered the game with 7:37 left in the first half, he was able to knock down a mid-range jumper on his first touch.

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Durant played the final eight minutes of the second quarter and then started the third quarter off with a three-pointer just after the break.

Brooklyn may still take a cautious approach with Durant, but there was plenty to get excited about on Wednesday night.

Saturday's nationally televised contest against the Los Angeles Lakers should give Durant more of a challenge as he continues to rehab his hamstring, but it's unclear how many minutes the Nets expect from him by then.

Durant's expectations of himself have already been set. Based on Wednesday's performance, anything less than perfection and a Nets victory won't satisfy him.