Kevin Durant rehearsed with the Brooklyn Nets on Friday subsequent to missing six days in the league’s Covid contact tracing protocols and is scheduled to play in Saturday against his previous team, the Golden State Warriors.
Friday was the first time Durant has been with the Nets since he was pulled off the court in the second from last quarter of a Feb. 5 game against the Toronto Raptors.
“I was a little upset during and after the game, but I’m cool now,” Durant said. “I’m ready to play.”
In an unusual new development at Barclays Center on Feb. 5, Durant couldn’t begin the game since he had been in close contact with a team employee who had returned an uncertain Covid test. He looked into the game midway through the first quarter and played 19 minutes before the employee returned a positive test, provoking Durant to be precluded in the second from last quarter.
“It was just an unfortunate situation,” Durant said, speaking about the incident with reporters for the first time. “I was looking forward to that game that night and being told right before tipoff that I had to wait a second for a test. You know, it just threw off the rhythm, my rhythm a bit because I wanted to go out there and play, but I’m back out there now. It is what it is.”
Despite the fact that Durant missed seven days, Nets coach Steve Nash said he won’t be on a minutes limitation against the Warriors.
“Even if I wanted to limit him,” Nash said, smiling, “I don’t think he’d allow me to. So, I think he’s a full go.”
Durant added that while it was baffling to be yo-yoed all through the game against the Raptors and along these lines be placed in contact tracing protocols for the second time this season, it didn’t take a sizable mental cost for him.
“It’s not that bad,” Durant said. “We’re getting paid millions of dollars to hoop and do something we love every day. We’ll figure the rest out.”
Durant is making his re-visitation of Golden State for the first time since leaving for Brooklyn two years back.
The Warriors said Thursday that they would play a tribute video in Durant’s honor during Saturday’s game and afterward next season when Durant and the Nets get back to Chase Center, they will have a more formal celebration, in the expectations that fans will be in participation.
“I remember a level of basketball that I don’t think has ever been reached before,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Friday, when asked to reflect on Durant’s years with the Warriors. “Probably my strongest memory is the closing game of the ’17 Finals, Game 5 at Oracle. … I remember walking away from that game just thinking there’s never been a level of offensive force in a basketball game ever than what we just saw.”
The Nets will be without focus DeAndre Jordan against Golden State. Nash said that the plan is for Jordan – who is out for individual reasons that are inconsequential to COVID-19 – to keep on testing for the Covid daily while he is away from the team and join the group eventually on its West Coast swing.
The Nets’ five-game road trip, which commences Saturday, will be their longest of the season so far.