The team called it a sprain, and it occurred with just under six minutes left in the quarter as Pelicans guard Herb Jones drove to the basket and collided with Nets guard Bruce Brown, who fell backward into Durant, who was standing behind the play. Nets coach Steve Nash said Durant would undergo an MRI Sunday morning.
"Of course it would be tough to lose him," Nash said after the game. "No one wants to see that and we'll obviously hope for the best outcome, but regardless of the outcome we have to continue to work, build and grow and get better and compete."
Durant left Barclays Center about midway through the fourth quarter, walking with a limp on his way to a waiting car. He sounded hopeful that the injury wasn't too serious, but was unsure at this point if he would be able to travel to Cleveland for the game Monday against the Cavaliers. He did not think the injury was as serious as when former Golden State teammate Zaza Pachulia fell into the same knee during a February 2017 game during his first year with the Warriors. That injury forced him to miss over a month.
Nets guard James Harden admitted that his team feels a little snakebit after all the injuries and COVID issues the Nets have dealt with over the past month.
"Tonight what happened with K and then [Kyrie Irving] being able to play road games only and Joe [Harris], Nic [Claxton], LaMarcus [Aldridge], but we've been a resilient group all year since I've been here and we just got to keep going. Keep pushing, keep pushing."
Durant attempted to stay in the game for a few moments after the injury, walking around, trying to loosen the knee up, but he headed over to the bench and checked himself out shortly thereafter. Durant went straight to the locker room to be checked out. Both Durant and the Nets now wait to see what the results of the MRI bring.
"Guys got to step up," Harden said. "It's simple. Obviously, we know how great of a player KD is and what he brings to the table each and every night consistently. So guys got to step up and fill that role and just continue to compete our butts off."
In the short term, Nash acknowledged that Harden would likely be forced to play even more without Durant.
"It's tough," Nash said, after Harden played 40 minutes Saturday. "No Kyrie, no Kevin, no Joe; he's going to have to play a lot so we obviously will have to be careful as to how many games he plays at what number of minutes, but we definitely are going to need him out there."
The injury overshadows what had been a strong return for the former MVP, who sat out the loss Thursday to the Oklahoma City Thunder to rest. In 12 minutes Saturday, Durant had 12 points, three rebounds and two assists before leaving the game.