BOSTON — The Nets left their injured trio of Kevin Durant, Ben Simmons and T.J. Warren home, not having them travel for Wednesday’s 139-96 loss to the Celtics.
But they claim Simmons and Warren are trending towards a return Saturday at home against the Wizards. Durant’s knee should get reevaluated shortly thereafter, with continued sentiment he’ll be back sooner rather than later.
“Hopeful, man; keep hope alive,” Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said of Simmons and Warren.
“Yeah, it’s just the next day. They just weren’t ready yet. So the best thing was to leave them at home, they can get more treatment, and then remain hopeful for Saturday versus Washington. So that’s still part of the plan, hopefully.”
Simmons was forced out of the Jan. 26 game against Detroit, and has now missed the last three straight with left knee soreness. Warren was out with a left shin contusion. Vaughn claimed neither had a setback.
Kevin Durant (right), who was in attendance for the Nets’ win over the Lakers, did not travel with the team to Boston during their 139-96 loss to the Celtics.AP
“No, they’re just definitely progressing towards the right direction of getting back on the floor,” Vaughn said. “We just weren’t there yet to put them back out there.”
Durant suffered a right MCL sprain on Jan. 8 in Miami. On Tuesday Jan. 23, the Nets said the star forward would be evaluated again in two weeks.
When he was sidelined by an MCL injury in the other leg last season he missed seven weeks, although a source told The Post this injury is not as severe as that one. Now Durant’s manager and business partner Rich Kleiman told ESPN the star hopes to be ready before the All-Star Game.
“I spoke with Kevin Durant’s business partner and manager, Rich Kleiman, tonight and he tells me KD remains hopeful that he can return and play on All-Star Weekend,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on NBA Countdown. “He certainly wants to be a part of All-Star: That’s February 19th. He likes the way his rehab is going, how he looks on the court, and most importantly, how he feels.
“I think for Kevin Durant to play and return and be a part of All-Star Weekend, you’d expect he probably need to play a game or two before the Nets’ All-Star break.”
The Nets gave up 26 3-pointers to the Celtics, the second-most allowed in an NBA game this season. The Knicks yielded 27 to Boston on Nov. 5.
The Nets’ 46-16 deficit after the opening quarter was the biggest first-quarter lead in Celtics history.
Yuta Watanabe scored six points on 1 of 4 shooting in 19 minutes after having initially been listed as probable with back tightness. David Duke Jr., Kessler Edwards and Dru Smith were all out on G-League assignment.
Boston center Robert Williams III scored 16 points and nine rebounds after having been listed as questionable with a left ankle sprain. Danilo Gallinari and Marcus Smart were both out.