Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant will miss Saturday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers because of the NBA's health and safety protocols, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.
While James Harden was cleared and will take the court, Durant is far from the only member of the Nets who will be sidelined:
The 33-year-old has been Brooklyn's best player this season, averaging 29.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game while shooting 52.3 percent from the field and 38.2 percent from deep in 27 games.
Durant is also averaging 37 minutes per game, the most he's averaged since the 2013-14 campaign when he was a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, he doesn't mind playing heavy minutes, telling reporters earlier in the season that he wants to play as much as possible.
"I'm a basketball player. I want to play 48 minutes. That's just what it is," Durant said. "It's a conversation to have [by fans and media]—I'm playing more minutes and I'm coming off an injury and all this other stuff. But I like to play, and if I can convince Coach to play me the whole second half sometimes, I'm going to do it. My basketball life is not that long, so I'm going to get the most out of it ... I like being out there."
Losing Durant for any period of time certainly is a blow for the Nets, especially because Kyrie Irving still has yet to make his season debut.
The Nets are 21-9 this season, which is good enough for first place in the Eastern Conference. If they want to maintain that position, they'll need Durant to stay healthy throughout the season.