Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: The Brooklyn Nets will be without familiar names for a regular-season game.
Brooklyn confirmed that superstars Kevin Durant and James Harden, along with recently acquired contributors Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge, will be among those sidelined for Wednesday’s matchup at the Philadelphia 76ers:
Per Malika Andrews of ESPN, both Durant and Griffin are having previous injuries managed as Brooklyn prepares for the upcoming postseason tournament. Aldridge’s illness is not related to the coronavirus, and Harden hasn’t played since he reaggravated a hamstring issue on April 5.
Durant played 27 minutes in Tuesday’s 127-97 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves as he works to return to full fitness after missing nearly two months of action because of a lingering hamstring setback.
“He needs to play a certain amount of minutes for his benefit,” head coach Steve Nash said of Durant on Tuesday, according to Andrews. “At the same time, when the game is that out of hand, you’re caught, like, do we want to risk him being out there at this point in the game? In an ideal world he’d play close to 30 minutes, but at the same time, he’s out there at the end of the game in meaningless minutes — you want to be careful as well. We’re trying to find that balance.”
Guard Kyrie Irving missed Tuesday’s victory attending to a family matter but is expected to return to the lineup Wednesday.
Both the Nets and 76ers enter Wednesday evening atop the Eastern Conference standings at 37-17.