The Brooklyn Nets are being patient with Kevin Durant's recovery from a sprained MCL. On Wednesday, head coach Steve Nash provided a bit of clarity as to when we might see the star forward back on the court.
Nash told reporters there's a "small chance" Durant is able to make his return in the first game after the All-Star break, but it's more likely that he takes more time to make sure he's fully ready.
Durant hasn't played since he went down in Brooklyn's game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Jan. 15. At the time of his injury, he was leading the NBA with 29.3 points per game. Durant was named a captain of this Sunday's All-Star Game but will sit out the showcase for the second consecutive year.
The Nets have struggled mightily in Durant's absence, going 3-12 with an 11-game losing streak that was snapped this past Monday against the Sacramento Kings. At 30-27, Brooklyn is eighth in the Eastern Conference and will have to make a run in the latter part of the season if it wants to earn home-court advantage for the playoffs.
The impending return of Durant isn't the only reason the Nets are optimistic about turning things around. The team acquired three-time All-Star Ben Simmons along with Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks from the Philadelphia 76ers for James Harden and Paul Millsap.
Simmons has yet to play this season and his return is not yet known, but adding him to Brooklyn's lineup is sure to help the team improve. An All-Defensive first-team selection in each of the past two years, Simmons will anchor a Nets defense that is currently giving up 110.8 points per game.
The Nets are taking on the New York Knicks on Wednesday and then will face the Washington Wizards on Thursday in their last game before the All-Star break.