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Nets’ Kevin Durant cleared to return after virus scare

Feb 2, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets power forward Kevin Durant (7) controls the ball against Los Angeles Clippers small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the first quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant has been cleared to return to the Brooklyn Nets’ lineup just in time for his first road matchup with his former team, the Golden State Warriors.

Durant, who missed three games because of COVID-19 protocols, returned to practice Friday for the first time since he was pulled from the Nets’ game against the Toronto Raptors on Feb. 5.

“Going back to Golden State, I’m looking forward to playing again and being out there with the team to try to build some chemistry. That’s my main focus,” said Durant, who played three seasons with the Warriors and won the NBA title with them in 2017 and 2018.

“I had some great years in Golden State, looking forward to being back in the Bay Area, but it’s just a shame the fans won’t be there.”

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Durant, 32, was considered a close contact with a Nets employee who tested positive for the virus when he was pulled from the game with the Raptors. He tested negative throughout the week.

“It was just an unfortunate situation,” Durant said. “I was looking forward to that game that night. Being told right before the tipoff that I had to wait a second for a test, it just threw off my rhythm a bit because I wanted to go out there and play.

“But I mean 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.”

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Durant’s stint with Golden State ended when he ruptured his Achilles tendon in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals, a series the Warriors lost to the Raptors in six games. That offseason he left for the Nets as a free agent, signing a four-year deal worth $164 million. He missed all of the 2019-20 season while recovering from his injury.

In 18 games this season, the four-time NBA scoring champion has averaged 29.5 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.

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–Field Level Media