Brooklyn Nets star forward Kevin Durant returned to the NBA Courts on Sunday night and afterward admitted he felt his nerves in his first game in a year and a half. Durant, who spent all of last season sidelined, suffered an Achilles injury in the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors.
Durant, who left the Warriors shortly after the 2019 NBA Finals, scored 15 points and had three rebounds and three assists in his first game in a Nets uniform. "I was anxious, nervous," Durant said after the game, as quoted on ESPN.
"I visualized this moment for so long -- nine, 10 months of thinking about how it would be, this next phase of my career. I felt like I was chomping at the bit, especially once COVID hit because I didn't see a future -- when the season was going to start in the future.
I was going through it. "So to go through this felt solid." Durant made several solid plays in his first game with Brooklyn and one of the came early in the game when he drew a charge on Wizards' Rui Hachimura.
"I definitely am feeling it right now," Durant said with a laugh. "It's good to get back in the flow of things, and it definitely gives me some confidence. ... It's a good step, and I am trying to build on it."
Nets coach thrilled to see Kevin Durant back playing
Durant showed flashes of his greatness in his first game in a year and a half and Nets head coach Steve Nash was impressed to see the 2014 NBA MVP playing again at a high level.
"When you have that type of injury," Nash said of Durant after the game, "it is kind of remarkable he's at the level he's at. "It's amazing. This is an injury that very few people have conquered, so to speak.
... It's beautiful to see him back on the basketball court. I think the world missed him -- I certainly did." The Nets are aiming to win an NBA Championship and two-time NBA champion Durant wants to help them in their bid.
"I want to play at the highest level of basketball -- the highest intensity of basketball, and that's not in the preseason," Durant said. "I want to play at an elite level late into the season, playoffs. That's when I want to play my best basketball, so I'm working toward that point."