The Brooklyn Nets remain formidable even though they are expected to initially be without big acquisition Kevin Durant. The 30-year-old continues to recover from a torn Achilles injury and most feel that it would be foolish to see him make an impromptu return for the coming 2019-20 NBA season.

Although not entirely discounted, the two-time NBA champion returning to action is not far-fetched. And while most view it as a long shot, it all boils down to how well he is recovering from surgery. According to a report from TMZ Sports, his recent spotting over in Los Angeles is any indication, seeing him walk without crutches could be a big development as far as his road to recovery is concerned. Previously, he was spotted around New York City riding on a scooter, the New York Post reported.

After spending three seasons with the Golden State Warriors, Durant shocked the NBA world when he decided to join the Brooklyn Nets this summer. He agreed to a four-year $164 million deal despite the fact that the second overall pick of the 2007 NBA Draft could miss the whole of next season.

Seeing him in a Brooklyn Nets uniform for the first time would be something. He could suit up this NBA season although not expected to get extensive minutes. But before getting that far, he would need to get medical clearance before doing so. With most believing his recent injury will be tough to overcome, the last thing that Durant may want to do is force the issue and aggravate the injury. He just needs to look back at the risk he took when he suited up for the Warriors against the Toronto Raptors in game 5 of the 2019-20 NBA Finals after missing nine games.

With or without Durant in action, the Nets are expected to be among the favorites in the NBA Eastern Conference. Aside from the 2014 NBA MVP, new faces in the mix include Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan. They join a formidable cast that includes Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Garrett Temple, Taurean Prince and Rodions Kurucs which should be something to look forward to under the watch of head coach Kenny Atkinson.

For Atkinson, the immediate challenge is to improve on their previous NBA playoffs performance. Brooklyn finished 6th in the Eastern Conference but was eliminated in the first round by the Philadelphia 76ers (1-4).

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