The Nets had another good news-bad news day on Friday before embarking on their five-game West Coast road trip.
The good news was that Kevin Durant got out of quarantine and rejoined them for practice ahead of his return to Golden State for the first time since leaving that franchise to sign with the Nets as a free agent in 2019.
The bad news was that center DeAndre Jordan, who was the cornerstone for an outstanding defensive effort in their previous game — a win over the Pacers on Wednesday — will miss Saturday’s game at Golden State for personal reasons related to a family matter. He is expected to rejoin the Nets during their trip without having to clear COVID-19 medical protocols.
"Kevin was with us today, practiced and is ready to go," coach Steve Nash said. "The guy loves basketball, he missed it and we missed him. So it’s a happy family again."
Asked if there will be any minutes restriction on Durant after he sat out for seven days and missed three games, Nash said, "Even if I wanted to limit him, I don’t think he’d allow me to. I think he’s a full go. He’s done some prep at home and practiced today, and here we go."
Durant missed a week in quarantine for the second time in a month as a result of contact tracing that showed he was in contact with a Nets employee who tested positive for the virus. Neither was wearing a mask when the employee drove him back and forth to practice and a game against Toronto a week ago Friday.
Durant, who was not fined for violating medical protocols, was upset that night because he was not allowed to start against the Raptors, then was permitted to enter the game late in the first quarter and play 19 minutes before being pulled in the third quarter after the employee’s second test returned a positive result.
"It was just an unfortunate situation," Durant said. "I was looking forward to that game that night, and then being told right before tipoff that I had to wait for a second test [of the employee]. It just threw off my rhythm a bit because I wanted to go out there and play, but I’m back out there now. It is what it is. I was a little upset during and after the game, but I’m cool now. I’m ready to play.
"I mean, it’s not that bad. We’re getting paid millions of dollars to hoop and do something we love every day. We’ll figure the rest out."
Durant spent three seasons with Golden State, winning NBA titles in 2017 and 2018 and reaching the Finals again in 2019, when he ruptured his right Achilles tendon when he tried to play through a calf injury in Game 5. The nationally televised game Saturday will be his first appearance in the Bay Area since he joined the Nets and only the seventh game in which Durant plays with fellow superstars Kyrie Irving and James Harden.
"Going back to Golden State, I’m looking forward to playing again and being out there with the team and building some chemistry," Durant said. "That’s my main focus. I had some great years in Golden State. I look forward to being back in the Bay Area, but it’s a shame the fans won’t be there."
As for his physical condition and preparedness to play, Durant said, "I feel good. Me and Steve and the training staff will stay in communication as the season goes on. We’re thinking about the long haul. So I feel good right now."