Durant expected to miss Nets' game for virus contact tracing

Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant was forced out of an NBA game Friday by Covid-19 contact tracing after being allowed to play in the first half
Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant was forced out of an NBA game Friday by Covid-19 contact tracing after being allowed to play in the first half ELSA GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP
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New York (AFP)

Former NBA Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets was expected to miss Saturday's game at Philadelphia after a bizarre Covid-19 situation in a loss to Toronto.

The Nets listed Durant only as questionable for Saturday's game in an afternoon injury report amid reports he would not even make the trip to face the 76ers.

Durant was planning to start Friday's home contest, told he couldn't after an inconclusive Covid-19 test for a close contact, then allowed to play later only to be pulled out in the third quarter after the contact returned a positive test.

"I was frustrated," Nets guard James Harden said. "We follow the protocols. We get tested every single day so I don't understand the whole thing where he couldn't play, then he came on the court, then they took him back.

"There's too much going on. It's kind of overwhelming, especially when we're in the midst of a tough game."

Durant, who contracted Covid-19 last year, missed three games last month due to Covid-19 contact tracing.

If he were out for a similar span, Durant would miss Tuesday's Nets game at Detroit and Wednesday's home contest against Indiana as well.

The Nets open a five-game western road swing next Saturday at Golden State, visiting the team Durant sparked to NBA crowns in 2017 and 2018.

Durant tossed a water bottle as he went walking to the locker room for the final time and was absent at the finish of Brooklyn's 123-117 loss to Toronto.

"I probably didnt handle it great, just trying to juggle all those balls, all that information," Nets coach Steve Nash said about Durant's on-again, off-again status.

"I probably got a little distracted thinking about what it means long-term for our team. We've already been playing guys a lot of minutes and if Kevin is not playing, are we going to run the remaining guys too many minutes? So maybe I got a little bit distracted by the big picture."

Harden questioned whether or not the game should have been played at all if Durant was such a risk, given he had been around all of his teammates in the locker room just before the Toronto contest.

"It's overwhelming. It's frustrating," Harden said. "(Durant) feels the same way, especially with him already having it and we get tested every single day. He has been negative. So I don't understand what the problem is.

"The game should've been postponed, I feel like, if we're talking about contact tracing. He was around all of us. So I don't understand why he wasn't allowed to play, then allowed to play, then taken back off the court.

"If that was the case, we should've postponed the game."