Update, April 19 — The Nets announced that Durant has been ruled out for Tuesday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans because of his thigh contusion. James Harden will remain sidelined with a hamstring injury. Nic Claxton is also sidelined after being placed in health and safety protocols.
Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant is dealing with yet another leg injury. He hurt his thigh in the first quarter of Sunday’s matchup against the Miami Heat and was ruled out for the remainder of the contest. Durant racked up eight points and a rebound before being forced to the locker room.
Durant returned from a two-month hiatus earlier this month after suffering a hamstring injury and has been working his way back into basketball shape in April. The Nets began to ramp up his playing time with each outing, but his latest knock could alter their timeline. James Harden is still out with a hamstring injury, so a lot of responsibility will fall on Kyrie Irving while Durant is out.
Brooklyn is still adjusting after LaMarcus Aldridge’s untimely retirement, so Jeff Green and Blake Griffin could be in line for more minutes while Durant recovers. Green’s should benefit the most, though, as Griffin is the Nets’ third option at power forward and center on most nights.
The Nets are the odds-on favorites to win the Eastern Conference (-112) and the NBA Finals (+250), but the lines for both could move significantly if all three of their stars aren’t healthy in the playoffs. Durant missed all of last season because of an Achilles tear and has already missed 33 games this year because of injury management for old and new lower-body issues. The Milwaukee Bucks (+150) and Philadelphia 76ers (+1200) could see their NBA Finals odds improve if Brooklyn doesn’t put everything together soon.