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Getty Kevin Durant looks on during the second quarter of Brooklyn's game against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center on December 27, 2020.

The Brooklyn Nets, winners of six straight games heading into Tuesday, are surging. The remarkable part? They’re doing it without their best player.

Kevin Durant has now missed five straight games — including Tuesday’s game against the Sacramento Kings — due to a mild left hamstring injury that he suffered against the Golden State Warriors on February 13.

All told, the 11-time All-Star has missed eight of the Nets’ last nine games; earlier in February, he was absent for three games due to COVID-19 contact tracing.

The good news for the Nets is Durant appears to be nearing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Steve Nash Gives Encouraging Update on Durant

“Yeah, I do,” Brooklyn coach Steve Nash said when asked if expects to get the 32-year-old Durant back before the All-Star break, via SNY. “But again, we’re just trying to monitor and be cautious. We definitely have kind of slowed things down in that respect. Not putting any pressure on him, not trying to rush him back in any capacity and just make sure that we give him the right amount of time to be more than healed, to be strong and conditioned to come back into the team. So we’re monitoring it and we’re not in a rush, but I don’t think he’ll be out until the All-Star break.”

Tweets by SNYNets

The All-Star Game is set for March 7 in Atlanta. The Nets have five games before then, including their game Tuesday against the Kings.

Nash’s comments Tuesday represented the first time he’s given a timetable on Durant’s injury. On Monday, his update on Durant was also positive, but without elaboration on when he expects him back.

“I think he’s progressing every day and it’s really positive,” Nash said Monday, via Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News. “But I couldn’t tell you when his return is, but reiterate that we’re all optimistic and positive that he’s improving at a rapid rate and will be back soon.”

Follow the Heavy on Nets Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content out of Brooklyn!

Signs of Progress for Durant

Before the Nets’ game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, the 6-foot-10 Durant was on the practice floor for his first pregame warmup since suffering his hamstring injury, per Winfield.

In an article for the New York Daily News, Winfield wrote that Durant was near-perfect on his mid-range shots during his workout, though the shots with added distance were a bit short.

Kevin Durant participated in pregame warmups today. He did not before the Suns or Lakers games. Today marks the 4th straight game Durant has missed with a left hamstring strain.

Steve Nash said Durant is “improving at a rapid rate and will be back soon.”

— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) February 22, 2021

Nets Thriving, Even Without Their Best Player

In Durant’s absence, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, the other two members of Brooklyn’s Big Three, have been superb in leading the Nets. Irving is averaging 28.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.6 assists over the Nets’ six-game winning streak (he missed one game over that span due to lower-back soreness), and Harden has thrust himself into the MVP discussion with 27.5 points, 9.2 rebounds and 10.7 assists in those six games.

Durant, meanwhile, has been an MVP candidate all season. He’s averaging 29 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists. As the Eastern Conference’s leading vote-getter for the All-Star Game, he was named its team captain. Irving and Harden also are headed to Atlanta for the All-Star Game; Irving was voted in as a starter, and Harden was named a reserve, according to a report by The Athletic’s Shams Charania on Tuesday.

Sources: 2021 NBA All-Star reserves:

West: Chris Paul, Paul George, Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Zion Williamson, Anthony Davis

East: James Harden, Julius Randle, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Zach LaVine, Ben Simmons, Nikola Vucevic

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 23, 2021

READ NEXT: Kevin Durant Has Meme-Worthy Reactions From Bench as Nets Destroy Lakers [WATCH]

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New York Yankees: Schmidt injury update, Taillon shows off, Yankees to face the Phillies, and more

New York Yankees: Schmidt injury update, Taillon shows off, Yankees to face the Phillies, and more

  • By: William Parlee
  • March 7, 2021

At the start of New York Yankee‘s spring training prospect, Clarke Schmidt had a common extensor strain. Schmidt is just one of several young pitchers contending for the fifth spot in the Yankees pitching rotation. When you have extensor tendonitis in your hands, it’s usually due to excessive use of the tendons in a short amount of time or sports or other activities that use the wrists. Schmidt is coming along but is not yet ready to start throwing. Saturday, when Boone was asked about it, he had this to say:

“Actually saw him before I walked out,” Boone said before a 3-2 loss to the Pirates at LECOM Park. “He’s doing well. He’s in Day 15 or Day 16 of no throw. He’s made steady progress as we’ve checked in with him. It’s kind of been better each and every day. But he’s still at least another week before he starts throwing. At least three weeks but then completely asymptomatic, range of motion, strength, all of those things are coming back the way it should, but he’s still probably a week from throwing.”

Jameson Taillon isn’t perfect, but jam, no problem

In yesterday’s loss to the Pirates, Jameson Taillon showed his old team what they already knew; he can get out of a jam. Taillon came over to the New York Yankees in a trade with his old Pittsburgh team. He was the starter for the Yankees yesterday, and he showed off his stuff.

Taillon first faced Dustin Fowler, who he struck out on four pitches. Bryan Reynolds also stuck out. Colin Moran lined out sharply to left fielder Dietrich. Taillon continued his excellent play from March 1, when he struck out the side in his Yankee debut.

Out for the second Taillion ex-Yankee Todd Frazier, who managed a single. Gregory Polanco also singled. For the first time, this season Taillon had two runners on base. Erik Gonzalez popped out. Anthony Alford struck out, and Michael Perez walked, loading the bases. Kevin Kramer closed out the inning for Taillon by striking out. Taillon worked out of trouble and has not allowed a run in spring training.

Zack Britton be COVID cautious

Zack Britton an essential part of late-inning relief for the New York Yankees. He may find himself taking on an even bigger part this season, closing more games as manager Aaron Boone mixes and matches. Britton managed to escape the coronavirus during last season. Many fans don’t know that he contracted a pretty bad case of the disease in mid-January. He said it hit him pretty hard.

“Physically, I’m all good now but trying to be smart,’’ Britton said.

Because of his earlier infection, he takes all the precautions as he builds back up his strength. The left-hander has participated in drills with teammates but hasn’t thrown off a mound since last Saturday. The Yankees will be slow with him, but Aaron Boone says he will be ready for opening day on April 1. Boone will watch the innings pitched by Britton and all the pitchers as they prepare for a 162 game season after having just 60 games last season.

Yankees face the Phillies today at 1 pm

After a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates yesterday, the New York Yankees are back at home today at George M. Steinbrenner Field in St. Pete. The Yankees have a 1 pm game facing the Philadelphia Phillies. The game will be televised on the YES Network. It should be a pretty nice day for a baseball game. The temperature throughout the game should be hovering around 70 under sunny skies, but there will be a relatively stiff breeze from the northeast to contend with.

Jordan Montgomery who won his first game of spring training will be starting for the Yankees. Zack Wheeler will be on the mound for the Phillies. There is some info that Cole is starting, but with spring training we will have to wait and see.


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