Kevin Durant left the Golden State Warriors in the summer in free agency to sign with Brooklyn Nets on a four-year deal. The small forward won two NBA titles with his former employers but his final month with the Warriors during their run to the 2019 NBA Finals was spent on the sidelines after he first suffered a calf injury before rupturing his Achilles on his return to action.

Durant was the most sought-after player coming into free agency and despite his long-term injury, the interest did not drop and finally the Nets won the race for his signature despite New York Knicks being touted as the initial favorite. The two-time NBA Finals MVP underwent surgery two days after suffering the injury during Game 5 of the 2019 Finals and is currently undergoing rehab.

Nets general manager Sean Marks is not expecting Durant to return to action before the end of the 2019-20 campaign but left the door open suggesting that the final decision will lie with the player. The Nets are expected to make the playoffs this season following the addition of Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan and a nine-month recovery period for an Achilles injury will mean a return in March for Durant.

“His rehab’s going very well,” Marks said Tuesday at the team’s pre-training camp press conference, as quoted on the New York Post. “With Kevin, I think what we’re going to say is the expectations are that he’ll be out for the year. We’re not going to plan on him playing.”

“His rehab will obviously be predetermined over the course of the next few months, how he goes with the performance team, but ultimately Kevin will have a large say in when he comes back and how he’s feeling. The expectation now is for him to be out for the year,” the Nets GM added.

Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors and Team LeBron warms up before the NBA All-Star game as part of the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, Feb. 17, 2019. Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Marks went on to explain that Durant is aggressively going about his rehabilitation process but made it clear that the medical team and the player are taking a long-term approach. They have no intention of rushing his return which could risk his longevity in the game, which many feel was the case when he rushed his return from the calf injury only to suffer a ruptured Achilles during the finals.

“In terms of his rehab, all I can mention is how hard he’s attacked it and been extremely thorough with what he’s done,” Marks said. “You’re looking at one of the great competitors out there, so I’d be remiss if I said he probably doesn’t want to play. It’s obvious he wants to play, but there’s more at stake here. This is, again, a long-term approach."

“There’s a lot of people with a lot of sweat equity in this from the rehab perspective, so it’ll be a group that makes the decision — obviously Kevin included — as to when and how that return is made. His presence, that’ll be predetermined by his rehab, how that’s progressing along.”