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Has Kevin Durant ruled out return to Nets this season? ‘Yes,’ he says

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NBA: Preseason-Toronto Raptors at Brooklyn Nets Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

In his latest comment on Kevin Durant’s return from a ruptured Achilles, the Nets superstar responded with a “yes” when ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith asked if he’s completely ruled out the possibility of playing this season.

Smith then posed a series of follow-up questions.

“You’re done? We won’t see you at all this year in a Brooklyn Nets uniform?” Smith asked.

“No, I don’t plan on it,” Durant answered.

Here’s the video...

Earlier in the interview, KD noted, “I’m not thinking about it. Just rehabbing every day. It’s still a slow process so I’m grinding.”

The comment on Thursday’s “First Take” was his clearest since the season began. At Media Day, he aligned himself with Sean Marks who said his “expectation” was that KD would be out of the year but Marks did note that “ultimately Kevin will have a large say in when he comes back and how he’s feeling.”

Durant injured his Achilles on June 5 during Game 5 of the NBA Finals and had surgery a week later at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery. Dr. Martin O’Malley, the Nets ankle and foot specialist, performed the surgery. Durant rehabbed in Los Angeles until September when he moved to Brooklyn. He did not travel to China earlier this month, preferring to rehab at HSS Training Center.

In the last few weeks, Durant’s teammates have offered hints (hopes?) that the 31-year-old could return in time for this year’s post-season.

KD also spoke to Smith about the end of his time in Golden State. Durant confirmed his altercation with Draymond Green last November was one of many factors that ultimately led him to leave the Warriors for the Nets in free agency.

The dispute, which took place early in the season, magnified his free agency, Durant said.

“Every day it was about my free agency,” Durant said Thursday. “Every day was about my disposition as a player -- what I looked like on the bench, what I looked like during the games. It opened up a lot of nonsense that could’ve been avoided.”

Durant signed a four-year, $164 million contract with the Nets in July. He is being paid $38.2 million this season.