It was a fluky, unlucky play, but it is going to leave the Nets without their best player, likely until after the All-Star break.
An MRI has revealed Durant has suffered a sprained MCL of the left knee against the Pelicans Saturday, the Nets announced.
Following an MRI this morning, Kevin Durant was diagnosed with a sprained medial collateral of the left knee. Durant is expected to return to full strength following a period of rehabilitation. Updates regarding his return will be provided as appropriate.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 16, 2022
The Nets left off the detail of how severe the sprain was, which impacts recovery time. Brooklyn is optimistic he will be out 4-6 weeks, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, which would have Durant back sometime after the All-Star break. That also suggests a Grade 2 sprain, an injury Durant suffered before.
Re: Durant: Recovery rates for MCL sprains depend on the severity of the sprain. The average lost time for confirmed G1 sprains in the NBA is ~17 days (~8.5 games). Grade 2 sprains (incomplete tears) result in an average of ~41 days lost (~21 games).
— Jeff Stotts (@InStreetClothes) January 16, 2022
The injury occurred when the Pelicans’ Herbert Jones drove the lane, Nets’ defender Bruce Brown made contact with him then fell backward into Durant’s knee. Durant tried to walk it off but was in too much pain and left the game, not to return.
Durant leads the NBA in scoring at 29.2 points per game and has played at an MVP level this season, carrying a heavy load and playing 36.5 minutes per game (fifth-most in the league). The Nets offense falls off by 4.6 points per 100 possessions when he is out, and now the weight Durant carried will fall on James Harden and Kyrie Irving. The Nets are heading into a heavy road section of the schedule with 11-of-14 away from the Barclays Center.