The Nets haven’t really been able to put together their entire team this season. And yet, heading into Thursday night’s game against the Hornets, they are alone at the top of the Eastern Conference.
More than halfway through the 2020-21 season, Brooklyn is the No. 1 seed in the East with a 33-15 record, including an impressive 14-4 against teams above .500. The Nets have won 17 of their last 20 games despite key players missing part or all of the stretch.
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Nets star Kyrie Irving, who recently missed three games with a family problem, will be available Thursday, but will not be joined by the other members of Brooklyn’s “Big Three.” Kevin Durant and James Harden have been ruled out for injuries.
What about each player? Here are the latest updates from Durant and Harden.
Why is Kevin Durant out against the Hornets?
Durant is still recovering from a hamstring injury that has kept him on the bench since mid-February. The Nets are (understandably) being wary of the former MVP, but Durant is “approaching a comeback on the court,” reports Athletic’s Shams Charania.
“His comeback is coming. They told me if this were in the playoffs, Kevin Durant would already be on the court.” Charania said during a video segment for Stadium. “But the Nets are being very cautious. They want to make sure their acceleration is done the right way. I hope next week is the start of a timeline for their return to the court.”
In 19 games this season, Durant averaged 29.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. He missed the entirety of last season while recovering from an Achilles tendon injury.
Why is James Harden out against the Hornets?
Harden left Wednesday night’s game against the Rockets with what the Nets called “Right hamstring stiffness”. That sounded a bit worrisome given how long Durant has been out, but Harden is expected to “be on the go,” according to Charania.
“The positive news right now for the Nets is that it is not believed to be a long-term problem. It will be from day to day,” he added. Charania said. “As for the comeback, considering the Nets and how they operate, they will make sure that he is 100 percent, completely healthy, that his acceleration has been done in the right way before he comes back from any kind of trouble in the hamstrings “.
Since being traded from Houston to Brooklyn, Harden has emerged as an MVP candidate, averaging 26.1 points, 11.2 assists and 8.9 rebounds per game.
Nets vs. Hornets injury report
The Nets will also be without Blake Griffin, who is sitting on the second night of a back-to-back. Newly-hired big man LaMarcus Aldridge is expected to make his Brooklyn debut as he is not listed on the team’s injury report.
(Current at 1:30 pm ET Thursday)
|Networking||Spencer Dinwiddie||Outside||Right knee; ACL partially torn|
|Networking||Kevin Durant||Outside||Left hamstring; Pressure|
|Networking||Blake griffin||Outside||Left knee; injury management|
|Networking||James harden||Outside||Right hamstring; oppression|
|Hornets||LaMelo Ball||Outside||Right wrist; fracture|
|Hornets||Malik Monk||Probable||Right foot; pain|
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.