Kenny Atkinson reiterated the Nets’ stance that Kevin Durant isn’t expected back this season. But the superstar forward is progressing in his rehab and had a strong workout in Barclays Center hours before the Nets hosted NBA-leading Milwaukee on Saturday night.
Durant was on court for about 25 minutes with a Nets trainer about five hours before tip-off, doing agility work on his surgically repaired Achilles. And when asked by The Post whether he had a solid workout, he smiled and replied, “Yes, sir! Yes, sir!”
It shouldn’t be taken as a sign that Durant will play this season.
“No, I think we’re all on the same page. That’s not going to happen,” Atkinson said. “Progressing. I don’t have my medical book up here. I can’t give you what stage or any of that. It’s great when you’re there every day. You see incremental progress. That’s all I can give you.”
This isn’t the first pregame workout Durant has had. He often does them on the practice court at Barclays Center, or at HSS Training Center. But the all-star is not only clearly making progress, but his presence is making an impact on the Nets.
“He’s progressing. I know he’s working extremely hard,” Atkinson said. “He’s a quiet personality, but when he needs to say something, he says it. Usually what he says is spot-on. We don’t want to bother him too much because he’s locked into his rehab. He’s a guy who likes to work in the shadows. He doesn’t want all the attention, but he’s working his tail off.
“When he walks in the room, we all become more confident even though he’s not playing — it’s just that way. I enjoy talking to him about the game and his opinions about what’s going on in the league. ‘Hey, what is this team doing? Did you see this? What do you think about this player?’ It’s a real treat for me to have a guy like that around and for our players. They love it. He’s around all the time, so it’s great.”
Joe Harris (lower back soreness), DeAndre Jordan (right middle finger dislocation) and Garrett Temple (right knee contusion) were all out.
Rodions Kurucs started at small forward in lieu of Harris.
Atkinson credited Taurean Prince’s 15-point, seven-rebound bounceback against the 76ers to both feeling better physically and the return of Kyrie Irving taking more off his plate and putting him back in his comfort zone.
Prince had shot 1-for-10 from deep on Jan. 10 against Miami and 0-for-4 in the loss to Utah before snapping his malaise by going 3-of-4 against Philadelphia.