Nets coach Steve Nash said his team has come to grips with the reality that it is unlikely they will have significant time together as a healthy team ahead of the playoffs. Kevin Durant started against the Raptors Tuesday in Tampa, but James Harden remained on the sideline with a strained right hamstring even though he is with the Nets on their two-game road trip.
"I think we’ve recognized for a while now that we’re probably not going to have the luxury of a run of games with everyone available, and we may not to start the playoffs," Nash said. "This season has been kind of like an avalanche and a relentless amount of games and travel that’s just a part of the challenge of this season. We’re going to have to build through the playoffs and get better if we’re fortunate enough to get everyone back."
Guard Bruce Brown (right knee soreness), backup center Nic Claxton (health and safety protocols) and forward Alize Johnson (health and safety protocols) also sat out against the Raptors. Chris Chiozza (right hand surgery) and Spencer Dinwiddie (right knee surgery) are in long-term rehabilitation.
Describing Harden’s progress, Nash said, "He was shooting this morning and just starting to build up his capacity. He’s not doing any high-intensity stuff, but he’s shooting and doing all his strength and rehabilitation work. So positive signs there, but still a ways to go."
Nash said Brown had fluid drained from his knee and is not on the trip that continues against the Pacers Thursday in Indianapolis, but he is expected back on Friday when the Nets face the Trail Blazers at Barclays Center.
There is a chance Dinwiddie might rejoin the team before long. "He’s definitely doing very well," Nash said of Dinwiddie. "He’s ahead of schedule and feeling really good for this stage of recovery. Word is he’s going to be back with the team at some point, but I don’t have a date."