Nets' Kevin Durant Won't Play vs. Cavaliers Because of Achilles Injury Recovery

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2021

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) reacts during an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, in New York. The Hawks won 114-96. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

The Brooklyn Nets announced that star forward Kevin Durant will not play Friday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The reason for Durant's absence was listed as "right Achilles tendon surgery injury recovery." KD underwent the surgery at the conclusion of the 2018-19 season and subsequently missed the entire 2019-20 campaign.

Durant missing Friday's game is essentially as a result of load management.

KD previously missed some time this month, as ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Malika Andrews reported Jan. 4 that the 32-year-old had come in contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19, which required him to enter a seven-day quarantine under the NBA's health and safety protocols.

The 10-time All-Star doesn't seem to have lost a step after rupturing his right Achilles tendon in the 2019 NBA Finals. Through 12 games, he's averaging 31.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6.0 assists.

Especially with the condensed schedule, Brooklyn will probably be somewhat proactive in managing Durant's workload. However, the team has to weigh that against what are shaping up to be slim margins in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Nets are also without Spencer Dinwiddie for the season after he suffered a partially torn right ACL. His scoring ability was supposed to be a nice luxury for Brooklyn when it wanted to rest Durant or Kyrie Irving.

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Since Dinwiddie's season-ending injury, the Nets have added another superstar in former Houston Rockets guard James Harden.

Wednesday's game against the Cavs was Brooklyn's first with its full allotment of stars in Durant, Irving and Harden.

All of them were productive, but the Nets lost the game 147-135 in double overtime.

The Nets will look to get a win back Friday, but they will have to do so without Durant, meaning Harden and Irving will need to lead the way.