The Nets and Lakers head into their Thursday night matchup (10 p.m. ET, TNT) on hot streaks, with Brooklyn looking to extend its four-game winning streak and Los Angeles having won eight of its past nine games. Both teams are loaded with talent and currently second in their respective conference standings. This contest could serve as an NBA Finals preview.
Well, actually, let’s hope that isn’t quite the case because that would mean a couple of key players aren’t able to suit up for the championship series.
While Nets guards Kyrie Irving and James Harden and Lakers forward LeBron James are expected to play, Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis will not be available when the teams meet at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. KD and AD are dealing with injuries, leaving basketball fans to wonder whether Brooklyn and LA will cross paths at full strength before the end of the regular season.
So what’s going on with each player? Here are the latest updates on Durant and Davis.
Why is Kevin Durant out vs. Lakers?
The Nets announced Sunday that Durant would miss at least two games (Monday vs. Kings, Tuesday vs. Suns) after being diagnosed with a mild left hamstring strain. He has been receiving treatment, but he is still listed as out for Thursday’s contest against the Lakers.
Durant will be sidelined for the sixth time in Brooklyn’s past seven games after missing three games earlier this month in accordance with the NBA’s health and safety protocols. He is averaging 29.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game in his first real campaign with the Nets after sitting out the entirety of last season as he recovered from an Achilles injury.
Despite the unique challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and typical injury issues, Nets coach Steve Nash is optimistic his squad will be able to weather the storm.
“I think guys are getting used to it,” Nash said Tuesday. “We said it from the start of the year. This is the way this year is going to be. It’s kind of impossible during a pandemic and with a waterlogged schedule not to have things arise and nearly consistently arise. I think guys kind of knew going in that this is the type of season we were going to face and they’re … a little bit numb to it now.
“The challenge is for us to continue to improve no matter who comes out every night. How can we get better at what we’re trying to do so that we’re not giving away games or weeks of the season? We’re constantly addressing issues, solving problems and working towards a bigger goal.”
Why is Anthony Davis out vs. Nets?
After Davis left the floor during the second quarter of Sunday’s game between the Lakers and Nuggets, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Davis had re-aggravated his right Achilles tendonosis, which knocked him out of two games earlier in the month. Fortunately for Davis and the Lakers, MRI results showed no rupture of the right Achilles tendon but reportedly revealed a calf strain and confirmed the tendonosis.
Davis will be reevaluated in two to three weeks, according to Wojnarowski, who added that Davis is “unlikely” to play again before the 2021 All-Star break. If he stays on that timeline, Davis would miss at least nine games.
“For me, all I care about is health,” James said when asked about Davis’ injury. “I want him to be healthy. Our team needs him to be healthy. He’s got to make sure that he takes all the precautionary reasons, everything, do his due diligence on what is going on with his injury and be right when he comes back.
“No rush, no timetable. We have no idea from that aspect, but we just want him to be healthy and get back to full strength.”
Nets vs. Lakers injury report
(Current as 1:30 p.m. ET on Thursday)
|Nets||Nicolas Claxton||Out||Right knee; tendinopathy|
|Nets||Spencer Dinwiddie||Out||Right knee; partially torn ACL|
|Nets||Kevin Durant||Out||Left hamstring; strain|
|Nets||Kyrie Irving||Probable||Lower back; tightness|
|Nets||Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot||Questionable||Right knee; soreness|
|Nets||Reggie Perry||Out||G League; two-way|
|Nets||Iman Shumpert||Out||Left hamstring; strain|
|Lakers||Kostas Antetokounmpo||Out||Right knee; patellar tendinitis|
|Lakers||Anthony Davis||Out||Right calf; strain|
|Lakers||LeBron James||Probable||Left ankle; sprain|