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Kevin Durant's absence leaves big hole in Nets offense

Nets forward Kevin Durant goes up for a

Nets forward Kevin Durant goes up for a shot before a game on Sunday at Barclays Center. Credit: AP/Kathy Willens

The Nets returned to the bad old days of life without Kevin Durant because he was in quarantine for Tuesday night’s game against the Jazz after coming in contact with someone from outside the organization who has COVID-19. Despite reports that Durant must be in quarantine for seven days and would miss four games, Nets coach Steve Nash described the NBA health protocols governing Durant’s availability as a "moving target" that might change.

"It is a quarantine, so, I don’t think there will be any on-court activity," Nash said of Durant’s absence. "The length of the quarantine is still a moving target. There’s negative tests, days from the contact tracing and all sorts of factors. So, I don’t really have an answer yet on how long. Some of those factors are either in flux or debatable, so, we’re waiting for official word.

"I’m not an expert on those protocols because there’s a lot of variance. Everything is situational, but obviously, Kevin is extremely upset to miss time and it’s horrible for him. He’s worked his way back after such a long layoff and to miss games like this is frustrating for him."

Some teams have lost multiple players who had to quarantine even though they did not have coronavirus but simply were exposed to someone who did have it. However, Nash said he hasn’t heard of anyone else in the Nets’ organization who has been found through contact tracing to have come in contact with anyone who has COVID-19.

The loss of Durant is a major blow. He appeared in six of the first seven Nets (3-4) games and is averaging 28.3 points per game and scored at least 28 in his past five games. His power forward spot in the starting lineup was taken over by veteran forward Jeff Green against the Jazz. Nash also replaced starters Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Joe Harris and DeAndre Jordan with Bruce Brown, Taurean Prince and Jarrett Allen.

If it turns out Durant is required to quarantine for a full seven days, then, he also would miss a home game against the 76ers on Thursday, a game against the Grizzlies Friday night in Memphis and a home game against the Thunder on Sunday. His likely return would come at home against the Nuggets next Tuesday.

Asked if he was planning any adjustments to compensate for the loss of Durant, Nash said, "The short answer is you can’t replace Kevin Durant. The reality is that we’ve just got to fight and try our best to compete against a talented team when you’re missing your big gun."

New York Sports