Durant sustained an MCL sprain in his right knee, the Nets announced Monday. He will be re-evaluated in two weeks. The team did not put a timetable on Durant's recovery, though there's optimism he can be back on the court within six weeks, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
There's optimism Durant will miss less time than he did with a six-week absence last season; a significant sigh of relief around the Nets and their MVP candidate. https://t.co/MrfAPtU90W
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 9, 2023
Durant sustained the injury during a collision with Heat forward Jimmy Butler in the third quarter. Butler fell to the court after having his shot blocked near the basket. He collided with Durant's right knee on his way down. Durant immediately grabbed his knee in apparent pain.
Nets say Kevin Durant (knee) is out for the rest of the game pic.twitter.com/8XNMak8nWb
— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) January 9, 2023
Durant got up and limped to the locker room on his own. The Nets announced shortly after that he was ruled out with a knee injury. The severity of his injury wasn't immediately clear after the game. Head coach Jacque Vaughn told reporters that the team would know more after Durant underwent further evaluation, including imaging on Monday. That imaging revealed an MCL sprain in Durant's right knee. The Nets won the game, 102-101.
The injury is to the opposite knee that sidelined Durant last season. Durant sprained the MCL in his left knee last January and missed 21 games. He missed the entire 2019-20 with a ruptured right Achilles tendon, then was sidelined for a lengthy layoff in 2020-21 with a nagging hamstring strain in his left leg.
When healthy, Durant remains one of basketball's most potent offensive weapons. In 38 games this season, he has averaged 30 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.5 blocks while shooting a career-high 56% from the floor and 37.6% from 3-point distance. His play is a primary factor why the Nets have rallied from a 1-5 start to 27-13, good for the second-best record in the East.
Health has remained a concern for Durant, who has been sidelined in three straight seasons with leg injuries since his Achilles tear. The Nets, whose championship hopes rest largely on Durant, are certainly hoping he can return sooner rather than later.