As Kenny Atkinson said back on January 9, Kevin Durant is “progressing fantastically” in his rehab from last June’s Achilles surgery. But as the coach also said five days ago, that doesn’t mean he’s coming back. “No, we’re all on the same page. That’s not going to happen,” Atkinson said.
So what does it all mean? Kristian Winfield got a look at KD’s practice routine on Wednesday and tweeted it out.
Kevin Durant got some shots up after Nets practice today. The Nets say they are in agreement that he will not return from his ruptured Achilles this season. pic.twitter.com/Azp1bD0YrG— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) January 22, 2020
On Friday, Winfield recounted in more detail what he saw with his own eyes two days ago.
The four-time scoring champion and two-time NBA Finals MVP is wearing a grey tank top, black shorts and a beanie hat while working out with team trainers in an empty gym, splashing post-up fadeaway after post-up fadeaway, getting heavy elevation under his jump shot each and every time...
The court was empty and dead silent other than three distinct sounds: the squeaks of Durant’s sneakers, the echo of the ball bouncing off the court and the unmistakable sound of a ball swishing through the net.
Over, and over and over again.
“Sleeping Monster” indeed.
As Winfield notes, there is no official injury update on KD, other than Atkinson’s appraisal and a daily notation on the Nets PR injury report that reads, “Right achilles rehab - out.”
Durant’s teammates would like to have him on the court with them, but they understand the situation.
“It’s difficult when you’ve got a guy that averages 30 points on the sideline, but it’s the reality,” Wilson Chandler said. “We don’t have him this year, we’re not going to have him this year, so we’ve got to play through that.”
There are values to watching him progress, as Atkinson said on January 9.
“Talking to him, talking to the performance team, came in and watched him yesterday do his exercises. You guys can probably see he’s moving a lot better, moving a lot more. I don’t want to get ahead of myself and get people mad at me for giving you more than that.”
So, we wait. The media will get more and more glimpses of his progress. Fans will get excited, but also grouse. But at the end of the day, KD’s return looks less and less likely.
- Kevin Durant injury update: Nets star now getting elevation on his jump shots - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News