Kevin Durant is close to a return of the Nets; Ben Simmons a few weeks ago

Nets star Kevin Durant is gearing up to return to the field, potentially as early as against Miami on Thursday.

That means Durant could be on the field before Ben Simmons trains.

“Kevin is approaching. We hope that he can play this week. He won’t play [Monday] or [Tuesday]but hopefully, I guess it’s Thursday or Sunday,” Steve Nash said, referring to Thursday’s tilt over the Heat or Sunday clash in Boston to end a three-game trip.

“So Kevin is approaching, which is exciting. And Ben is still working on some work. So he won’t be playing this week; but we will continue to work on his timeline and hope he goes well. ”

Nets stars Ben Simmons and Kevin Durant sit on the bench for the first half of the game, Thursday, February 24, 2022.
Ben Simmons and Kevin Durant
Corey Sipkin / New York Post

Bringing Durant back would not only change Brooklyn’s fortunes but could really impact the playoff race; That’s the importance of the former MVP.

Nets are 27-15 (.643) and are second in the Eastern Conference – sixth in the NBA – when Durant Sprained left MCL. But in his absence since January 16, Brooklyn is just second with 5-14 (.263), or 26th in the league.

Simmons is still weeks away from making his debut for the season, is dealing with a back ache and is now highly questioned over his stated goal of being ready for a return trip to Philadelphia on Jan. March 10.

“I don’t think he’s going to train this week,” Nash said. “He was just doing some lighting shots and just doing physical therapy, making sure he was 100% back, just that little flare, and while he shot and adjusted something he can do while that settles down.”

Simmons – who hasn’t competed since last June – is yet to be cleared for the intense work. He had to undergo three intense training sessions before he could compete.

The Nets begin a three-game swing on Sunday in Boston, followed by March 8 in Charlotte and finally a scheduled March 10 visit to Philadelphia.

When asked if Simmons is set to launch mid-month – the Nets have that Sixers game, followed by hosting rival Knicks on March 13 – Nash replied, “I haven’t counted. I do not know.”

Joe Harris has not competed since November 14 and is trying to avoid a second left ankle surgery. He has a second opinion and no decision will be made until seeing how his ankle is after more practice.

The Nets' Joe Harris looks from the sidelines during the game against the Celtics on February 24, 2022.
Joe Harris
Corey Sipkin / New York Post

“Yes, we are waiting to see how he reacts,” Nash said. “No decisions have been made and we’re just trying to see how much he can improve in the coming weeks.”

Goran Dragic will play twice in two nights with the Raptors team that has basically ranked him after five games, citing a youth movement. He provided the Nets with a pure lead guard they were lacking.

“Yes, actually he is our real point guard on our list,” Nash said. “Patty [Mills]Seth [Curry]Kyrie [Irving] are the ones who actually score more, the attacking players. ” Kevin Durant is close to a return of the Nets; Ben Simmons a few weeks ago


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