The Nets’ long wait for Kevin Durant is over

Kevin Durant is finally making his long-awaited return to the court Wednesday night.

The Brooklyn star has missed 23 straight games with a left hamstring strain, but the Nets have cleared him to play against visiting New Orleans at Barclays Center.

Durant hasn’t played since Feb. 13, when he led the Nets to a victory at Golden State against his former Warriors teammates. But he suffered the hamstring injury and has been sidelined for nearly two months.

In recent weeks, Durant has been ramping up for his comeback, playing four-on-four and working on his conditioning. Last week he spoke with reporters and said a return was imminent.

“I feel great. I feel like it’ll be soon that I’ll be out there with my teammates. The last month or so, it’s been me working out every day,” Durant said. “Playing with my teammates but mainly working out, stay ready, keeping my stamina up and sharpening up my skills so I can be able to transition back smoothly.

Kevin Durant is returning to the Nets lineup after a 23-game absence
Kevin Durant is returning to the Nets lineup after a 23-game absence
Corey Sipkin

“It’s been too long for me and hopefully be back out there soon.”

He won’t play with James Harden on Wednesday night, with Harden out with his own hamstring injury. The Big Three have started just seven games together, going 6-1. With Harden expected to miss at least 10 days – and the Nets playing five games in that span – there will likely be just 21 games left for them to play together before the postseason.