If the NBA returns this season, is it possible Kevin Durant returns with it?
A rollercoaster of an NBA season could have one more big drop in store.
On Tuesday, Brooklyn Nets General Manager Sean Marks said that if the 2019-20 season is resumed, superstar forward Kevin Durant – who as been sidelined all season after suffering an Achilles tear in the 2019 NBA Finals – could be ready to play.
Nets GM Sean Marks doesn’t rule out a Kevin Durant return this season. https://t.co/b6ds9zAhjw
— NY Daily News Sports (@NYDNSports) May 5, 2020
After initially being ruled out for the entirety of the season, Durant’s return could be a real possibility considering play has been suspended since March 11 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Said Marks in an interview with Australian news outlet Newshub: “When you’ve got enough invested in a player like Kevin, we’re never going to push him to come back. When the timing is right, he’ll be 100 percent when he gets on the court … I can tell you this though — before the pandemic, he looked like Kevin Durant and that’s a good thing.”
If the current NBA season hadn’t been suspended, the playoffs would be more than halfway completed, making the possibility of a Durant return unlikely.
However, recent reports suggest that the NBA is pulling out all the stops in an attempt to finish the 2019-20 season. If the season were to restart after the Finals were scheduled to take place – Game 1 of the Finals was set for June 4 – Durant will have had over a year to recover from the injury, which he suffered on June 10, 2019.
Sean Marks repeatedly had said the team expected Durant to miss the entire 2019-20 season.
But then the NBA suspended the season during the coronavirus pandemic, leading to questions about whether a summer restart could allow Durant to return. https://t.co/YPWTIrUBGw
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 5, 2020
The timeline to recover from an Achilles tear is on a case-by-case basis, but it’s thought that for most, the recovery time is somewhere around nine months.
For context, the late Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles on April 12, 2013, and made his return to the court on Dec. 8 of that year, a little less than eight months after suffering the injury.
DeMarcus Cousins suffered the injury on Jan. 26, 2018, and returned to the court on Jan. 18, 2019, a few days shy of being sidelined for a year.
Now, in February, we did get a glimpse of what looks to be a healthy Durant, moving just as smoothly as ever.
Footage of Kevin Durant getting some shots up. It looks like rehab is coming along nicely for KD💪pic.twitter.com/rnFCHRjlPc
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) February 19, 2020
So, if the 2019-20 NBA season were to resume, would it be the right move for Durant to return for the Nets, potentially in the middle of playoff basketball?
ESPN’s Jay Williams, who also hosts The Boardroom with Durant, feels like the move would be too much of a risk, detailing his thoughts in an interview with The New York Post.
“As it relates to Kevin, it depends on the timetable of those games and how condensed it is. It’s one thing to come back and start the beginning of next season where there’s time and space between games and [you can] keep your body ramped up the right way. But someone coming back off an injury and going right into a playoff scenario, I don’t think it’s feasible or fair on Kevin himself. But Kevin is his own man. He’ll do what he wants to do.”
Jay Williams doesn’t think it’s the smartest idea, but his buddy Kevin Durant has defied the odds before https://t.co/IxqmFnoA3z
— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) May 5, 2020
On the flip side, you know what they say: nobody knows your body better than you.
ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser believes that a healthy Durant changes the entire season outlook for the Nets, who currently sit at seventh in the Eastern Conference standings.
“I’m not going to say they [Nets] should push him, I’m going to say they should ask him. I think if Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are ready to play, I think they can win the East.”
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said Tuesday that one positive sign regarding Durant’s return is that he personally was hoping to play in the Tokyo Olympics this summer, which would have taken place after the 2019-20 NBA season had concluded in June.
“Kevin had his name on the preliminary basketball roster for the Olympics for Tokyo because he thought there was a possibility he might be able to play with Team USA. Guess what? That was supposed to be July and August. We may face the return of the season in July and August … If we get back this season, it’s going to be a free-for-all. I don’t think seedings are going to matter as much. Even as the 7th seed, if Kevin Durant could possibly play, I would not rule the Nets out.”
In the end, the NBA and its fans are dying to see this guy again.
KD put up a playoff career-high 50 to ice the Clippers a year ago.
Closed out the series with:
◻️ 38 PTS
◻️ 33 PTS
◻️ 45 PTS
◻️ 50 PTS
“I’m Kevin Durant. You know who I am.” pic.twitter.com/yBAnHgfBNJ
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 27, 2020
But if Durant is not that guy quite yet, the NBA world can surely continue being patient.