In his first public comments since Feb. 13, injured Kevin Durant apologized for profane private messages to Michael Rapaport, DMs the actor shared publicly. Now after a mea culpa, Durant aims to move forward and make noise for the right reasons: getting back on the court for his first-place Nets.
Durant has missed 21 straight games, and hasn’t played since a Feb. 13 win at Golden State. But he and coach Steve Nash both said Thursday that he’s on the brink of being able to rejoin the lineup.
Still, even while idle, Durant was in the news for his foul-mouthed rant against Rapaport, shared Monday by the actor on social media. Durant used language that was profane, homophobic and threatening.
“I’m sorry that people seen that language I used. That’s not really what I want people to see and hear from me,” Durant said. “But hopefully I can move past it and get back out there on the floor.”
The Post reported Wednesday that not only was the NBA aware of the DMs and assessing them, but that the Nets spoke at length with their star player over them. Nash confirmed as much before facing the Hornets on Thursday.
“Well, first of all, that was a private conversation with him and the other party,” Nash said. “We’ve talked about it internally. But we’ll keep all that stuff internal.”
Before he was injured, Durant was averaging 29 points and 5.3 assists. He could well end up missing roughly two months, already essentially ruled out of the games Sunday against Chicago and Monday against the rival Knicks.
“I doubt that he would play in either of those games,” Nash said. “But he’s progressing. And we’re monitoring it and continuing to push and find him opportunities within that structure to get high intensity [work] in so that we can measure whether it’s safe for him to come back and play. So everything’s progressing the way we’d like, and fingers crossed it won’t be too long.”
The Nets face New Orleans next Wednesday, and the defending champion Lakers in a marquee matchup April 10. And Durant is now making rapid progress by the day, having gone four-on-four and done much of the work needed to return. He just needs to keep stacking good days on top of each other.
“I feel good. I’m progressing pretty well. Looking forward to being out there with my teammates pretty soon,” Durant said. “I feel great. … Last month or so, I’ve just been working out every day, playing here and there with my teammates, but mainly working, just trying to stay ready, keep my stamina up, sharpening up my skills so I can be able to transition back smoothly. But it’s been too long for me.
“I’m just excited to hopefully get back out there soon. … It was more so about running up and down the floor, as opposed to (five-on-five). So it was good to get some of that stuff in, transitioning from offense to defense, stuff I haven’t done in a couple of weeks. It’s good to get a few of those sessions in before I want to jump into an NBA game. That’s what we’ve been doing the last few days and what we’re going to do going forward.”
Durant missed his 21st straight game Thursday, far longer than he expected to be sidelined. When he first strained his left hamstring, he’d presumed it would be a minor Grade 1 injury, akin to the one that has teammate James Harden day-to-day.
“Yeah, initially I didn’t think it was that bad, just a regular strain. I thought it was a Grade 1; it felt like that. Then we got a second scan and they saw it was a little deeper than that,” Durant said. “It was one of those things where I’m not feeling a ton of pain.
“But you don’t want to force one of these injuries and go out there and make it worse. I was like, ‘Damn, I could play,’ but then, it was also like, ‘Man, you’ve got to be smart and cautious with this type of injury.’ So just try to be patient with it and just rehab as hard as I can.”
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