The NBA season will resume following approval by 29 of the 30 teams, but one prominent player will not take part in the action. Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant has already ruled himself out for the remainder of the season. He said that he is not physically ready to return following a torn Achilles tendon on June 11, 2019.
Durant confirmed the news on Friday during an interview with ESPN's The Undefeated. He was set to make his Nets debut following a three-year stint with the Golden State Warriors and has been training in Los Angeles. The 10-time All-Star said that he feels much improved following his season-ending injury in 2019, but he still is not physically ready for the on-court action. He believes that he should wait until the 2020-21 season.
"It's just best for me to wait," Durant said. "I don't think I'm ready to play that type of intensity right now in the next month. It gives me more time to get ready for next season and the rest of my career. My season is over. I don't plan on playing at all. We decided last summer when it first happened that I was just going to wait until the following season. I had no plans of playing at all this season."
The Brooklyn Nets will be one of the 22 teams returning to action in Orlando at the end of July as part of the altered schedule. However, Durant does not know if he will be joining his teammates for the trip. He told ESPN that he has been very comfortable "rehabilitating without pressure" in Southern California. This is not the same approach that he took earlier in his career with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors.
"I didn't feel rushed at all. That was a great space to be in," Durant continued. "I was putting pressure on myself in previous injuries, wanting to hurry up and come back. I saw my teammates having fun and wanted to be out there. This time, I felt like I was more patient throughout the process mentally and not rushing myself mentally, not get too excited when my team plays well, or I have a good [rehab] day. I'm taking things second by second, and I'm trying to look out for what is best long term."
In addition to recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, Durant was one of the NBA players to test positive for COVID-19. He is fully recovered after testing positive in March and says that researching all of the symptoms helped calm him down. Durant also told ESPN that he is confident that the NBA will have a "smart and healthy environment" for players.