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Kevin Durant hopes to be back shortly after All-Star break

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New Orleans Pelicans v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Brooklyn Nets’ reporters were lucky enough to catch up with Kevin Durant before the tip-off of Saturday’s game against the Miami Heat for the first time since spraining his MCL in his left knee. Durant was confident that he’ll return to the floor shortly after the All-Star break, though he’s taking his time so that he doesn’t come back at “80%” (in his words). He also described how he was feeling overall while rehabbing.

“I’m feeling better. Much better as each week passes,” said Durant. “It’s slow but I'm looking forward to ramping things up.”

Durant also addressed the James Harden rumors and the trade itself. He mentioned that he wasn’t aware of Harden’s unhappiness in Brooklyn until it was too late; their relationship, at least according to KD, may have fallen apart when Durant sprained his knee and was away from the team. His absence may have been the final straw.

Still, Durant expressed optimism about the trade. He mentioned that the deal added a sense of certainty within the locker room, which matches up with Steve Nash’s claim of “finality.” He also addressed the theory (and reporting!) that Kyrie Irving’s vaccination status had contributed to Harden’s eventual exit.

“I can’t speculate on that, I wouldn’t know,” said Durant. “There’s obviously going to be rumors about that. Kyrie has always been an easy scapegoat for everybody, especially for the media and the fans.”

For now, the Nets most survive without their star leading the charge. Heading into Saturday’s game, the Nets were on a league-worst 10-game losing streak.

“I like our group that we’re not sinking deeper and deeper into the hole,” said Durant. “We know we’re in some deep sh**, don’t get me wrong, but we do understand that with a win, one win, it could just put us on the right track.”

Deep you-know-what is certainly one way to describe it. Brooklyn’s new mantra for the next two weeks? Just. Stay. Afloat.