Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant doing on-court work, getting closer to return

MIAMI -- Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant has started doing more on-court work as he inches his way back from a sprained left MCL injury, but there still is no firm timetable for his return, coach Steve Nash said Saturday.

For the first time since suffering the injury on Jan. 15, Durant joined the Nets on the road during their current trip to play the Washington Wizards and Miami Heat. Nash said he's optimistic about Durant's progress and that the former MVP is doing a little bit more each day.

"He's on the court shooting, working through things, looking really good," Nash said after Saturday's shootaround. "There's still a period of time he's got to go through to get over the line, but really positive."

Speaking to reporters for the first time since his injury, Durant sounded optimistic that he would be back on the floor soon after the All-Star break.

"I'm getting better every day," Durant said prior to Saturday's game against the Heat. "It's obviously a process to get back on the court and I'm going through that every day. I'm feeling much better as each week passes. It's slow but you know I'm looking forward to ramping things up."

Like Nash, Durant didn't want to put a firm timeline on his return, but he was confident about the progress he is making during rehab.

"I feel that the next couple weeks that I'll start to do more," Durant said. "That's probably as much as I can give you and I don't know for sure. I'm just listening to the training staff, just doing my job and coming in and following the game plan every day. Whatever they give me. But from the last few weeks I feel like they'll be able to give me more and more each day goes on so I'll ramp up here soon and we'll see what happens.

"I want to be back as fast as possible but I also know that I don't want to go out there and be 80 percent. I want to be 100 so I can be the best that I can be."

At the time of the injury, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that the Nets were hopeful that Durant would miss only four to six weeks.

"He's been on the court for a week or so," Nash said. "Now some of it is starting with spot shots, working his way up to more dynamic movement, but that's the part of his rehab he's in and he's doing great."

The Nets, who have lost 10 in a row, need all the help they can get after Thursday's blockbuster deal that sent James Harden and Paul Millsap to the Philadelphia 76ers for Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and Ben Simmons, who hasn't played all season after requesting a trade out of Philadelphia. The Nets also got a pair of first-round picks in the trade.

Curry and Drummond are in Miami awaiting final clearance to play, and the Nets said it would not be Saturday. The likely scenario is that they make their debut Monday against the Sacramento Kings on Monday.

It remains unclear when Simmons will make his debut, but Curry and Drummond believe he'll be ready for the moment when the time comes.

"I know he's excited about the opportunity," Curry said of Simmons. "Excited to get back on the floor. Excited to get back around some teammates and play. So I think we're going to get a good look at Ben, an exciting one, an energetic one. And looking forward to getting back on the court with him."

Added Drummond: "I spoke with Ben [Friday] and the day before. He's still getting himself ready to play. And whenever he's ready, we'll take him back. But until then, we'd rather him get himself prepared."

As the Nets wait for Simmons' arrival, Nash is also hopeful that veteran center LaMarcus Aldridge can soon return. Aldridge has not played since spraining his ankle in a Jan. 29 loss to the Golden State Warriors.

"I think he's days away more than weeks away," Nash said of Aldridge.

Durant said it has been difficult for him to watch from afar as the losses have piled up recently for his team, but he likes the attitude and mentality the group has continued to display through the tough times.

"I like our group that we're not sinking deeper and deeper into the hole," Durant said. "We know we're in some deep sh**, don't get me wrong: But we do understand that with a win, one win, it could just put us on the right track. And that's what it takes in this league and things can change pretty fast. So I'm confident in our group. But I like this adversity that we're going through, and it's only going to build character and make us better as men and as basketball players."