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Kevin Durant ‘close but not there’ yet; Tyler Johnson return for Sunday ‘possible but not likely’

Kevin Durant is getting closer while Tyler Johnson could return Sunday against his former team, the Phoenix Suns.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Miami Heat Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

In case you missed it, Kevin Durant is missing his third straight game with a left thigh contusion. On the season, he’s played in just 24 of Brooklyn’s 59 total games — just 40 percent of the season. All signs point to a Durant return being “close,” though that may not necessarily mean imminent.

“I think he’s close, but I don’t think he’s there,” said Nash about KD return. “We’ll see tomorrow and Sunday if that’s a possibility. But it may not. It may bleed back into this road trip.”

According to Nash, Durant just isn’t 100 percent, nor close to that. Durant suffered the thigh contusion last Sunday afternoon against the Miami Heat, nearly a full week ago.

“The contusion hasn’t healed fully,” said Nash. “He’s working out and getting there, but it’s not 100% or close to 100% to play yet.”

There was good news on Tyler Johnson, who will miss his 10th straight game with right knee soreness. Johnson is day-to-day moving forward and Nash said the combo guard played with the “Stay Ready” group on the court for the first time. It is possible for him to return Sunday against his former team, the Phoenix Suns, but not likely, said Nash.

“Tyler’s first day of playing is today in the stay-ready. He needs to do that probably once or twice but he is a day-to-day guy as well,” Nash said. “If he comes through today’s session and potentially tomorrow or Sunday, I think Sunday’s probably possible but not likely. It gets more possible every day after that.”

The Nets faced another blow with Alize Johnson being placed on the league’s health and safety protocols. The Nets head coach believes the listing stems from the Miami trip — the same trip in which both Reggie Perry and Nicolas Claxton were dinged for health and safety. Nash wasn’t asked about the status of Claxton, who will miss his third game tonight.

“I believe it’s the same but you need an encyclopedia to figure that out,” Nash joked. “I’m not totally positive but, I think it’s all stemming back to the Miami trip.”

James Harden, who suffered an injury setback, will miss his ninth straight game with a left hamstring strain. Chris Chiozza (right hand) and Spencer Dinwiddie (right knee) are the two other Nets that remain out and do not have timetables for their respective returns.