Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant will not travel to Philadelphia for Saturday’s game with the 76ers after being pulled Friday against the Raptors for NBA Health and Safety Protocols, ESPN first reported. The rest of the Nets will be permitted to travel, per ESPN.
“I don’t believe he’ll come to Philly, but I don’t think they’ve necessarily decided,” head coach Steve Nash said after the team’s 123-117 loss at Barclays Center. “It’s just a contact tracing procedure and I think it’s to be determined how much time he’ll have to miss. But we’re just gathering information still at this point.”
Nash said he hopes that Durant, who tested positive for Covid last March and also missed three games last month after exposure to a positive Covid case, is not out for another extended period.
“I hope it’s more of a to be determined situation than a situation where it’s a one-week quarantine or whatever you want to call it,” Nash said. “I don’t know. I hope that obviously we don’t lose him for the week, but I’m not sure what’s going to come of this.”
Durant, the second-leading scorer in the NBA and the leader in All-Star voting, did not start on Friday. It was later reported that Durant was out for contact tracing and might be available later in the game.
He came off the bench for the first time in 867 career games with 4:17 in the first quarter and impacted the game while he played. After officials overturned what would have been his fifth foul in the third quarter, he was told by a Nets official with 9:06 left in the third quarter that he had to leave the game due to NBA Health and Safety protocols. The Nets were leading at the time.
A visibly upset Durant threw a water bottle as he retreated to the locker room. He finished with eight points and five assists in 19 minutes.
Per the NBA via Shams Charania, Durant interacted with someone on Friday afternoon who yielded a positive Covid test result.
“It’s tough to lose Kevin Durant twice in one night,” Nash told ESPN’s Malika Andrews on air. “It wasn’t easy but we gotta be adaptable and this is the type of season it’s going to be. We have a lot going on in our world and we got a lot of guys who can step up.”
From the locker room, Durant tweeted, “Free me.”
It remains unclear how the latest Durant situation might the Raptors going forward.
The Nets will now be faced with playing the top team in the East on the second night of a back-to-back without their leading scorer.