Nets forward Kevin Durant looks on against the Toronto Raptors...

Nets forward Kevin Durant looks on against the Toronto Raptors in the second half of an NBA basketball game at Barclays Center on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Thanks to injuries and COVID health and safety protocols, the minutes are going to pile up rapidly for superstar Kevin Durant as he works to keep the shorthanded Nets afloat. He played 41 minutes and scored 51 points in Sunday’s win at Detroit when James Harden was rested, and he played 48 minutes and had a triple-double in the Nets’ win over the Raptors Tuesday night when seven players were out with COVID positive tests.

The Nets expanded their roster to nine with the signing of free-agent Langston Galloway on Thursday before facing the 76ers at Barclays Center, but coach Steve Nash admitted he’s concerned about the demands on Durant.

"It’s really an important topic," Nash said. "I don’t know that we can continue to lean on him the way we have. It doesn’t feel right. I know he’s enjoying playing at the rate he’s playing at and trying to bring his teammates along with him and all the responsibility he’s accepted and crushed basically. It’s been incredible.

"At the same time, we know that’s not safe or sustainable to continue to lean on him like that. We’ll have to find out a way to give him some breaks."

Tougher adjustment for Galloway

The Nets announced they will have no practices or morning shootarounds the rest of December, which meant the task of integrating a newcomer like Galloway, who hasn’t played since last season with the Suns, is tough. "We’re going to meet right before the game and go over the game plan," Nash said. "Very quick introduction and let’s see if we get a chance to use him and see what type of shape he’s in and how he first with the group. It’s really going in blind.

Describing the new routine, Nash said, "We’ll meet, watch some film and walk through quickly. But we definitely are erring on the side of less time in a concentrated group setting."

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