Nets' Kevin Durant Hopes to Play in All-Star Game, Won't Rush Back from Knee Injury

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 24, 2023

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 06: Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets reacts against the New Orleans Pelicans during a game at the Smoothie King Center on January 06, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant said he hopes to play in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game but will not rush back from his sprained MCL.

"I want to play tomorrow if I can. So that's what my sense of urgency is. Obviously, I don't want to rush anything. I want to make sure I'm 100 percent. But yeah, I want to play. I want to be a part of all these events," Durant told reporters Tuesday.

The Nets announced Durant is set to resume on-court activities this week. They plan to re-evaluate his status in two weeks. He has been out of the lineup since injuring his knee in a Jan. 8 win over the Miami Heat.

Brooklyn has won two straight games after dropping its first four with Durant on the sideline. The Nets roared back from 17 points down Sunday against the Golden State Warriors, with Kyrie Irving dropping a game-high 38 points.

Their next game comes Wednesday night against the Philadelphia 76ers and could wind up having critical seeding implications down the line. Brooklyn is currently the No. 4 seed in the East at 29-17 but is only one game behind the second-seeded Sixers, who have won five straight games.

Durant was averaging 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists while shooting a career-high 55.9 percent from the floor when he went down with an MCL sprain for the second time in as many years.

When Durant was injured last season, the Nets went from the East's No. 2 seed all the way down to No. 8. His absence also likely expedited the departure of James Harden, who played listless basketball without Durant and Irving in the lineup before forcing a trade to Philadelphia.

After a tumultuous offseason and start to the 2022-23 campaign, these Nets have seemingly come together under head coach Jacque Vaughn. Brooklyn still faces a significant uphill battle against top teams when Durant is out, but it does not seem as though the bottom will fall out as it did a year ago.