Kevin Durant injury: Right MCL sprain adds to recent stretch of injury misfortune

The Nets were handed some bad news on Monday when All-Star forward Kevin Durant was diagnosed with an "isolated MCL sprain of the right knee" following an injury suffered in Sunday's game against the Heat.

This continued a recent stretch of health misfortunate for Durant as the injury occurred in a freakish way, with Jimmy Butler landing on his right knee after a layup attempt.

Durant is expected to miss up to a month of action with the injury, derailing an MVP-caliber campaign where he was averaging 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game leading the Nets to 18 wins in their last 20 games to shoot up to second in the Eastern Conference Standings.

Despite being healthy for the first seven years of his NBA career, Durant has now suffered a significant lower-body injury in four consecutive seasons.

2014-15: Jones fracture

Durant nearly had a clean bill of health through his first seven NBA seasons, never missing more than 10 games from 2007 to 2014.

It was during the 2014-15 season that Durant was handed his first major injury, suffering a Jones fracture in his right foot that would end his year just 27 games into the season.

2016-17: Left MCL sprain, tibial bone bruise

Durant made a full recovery from his Jones fracture in 2015-16, playing in 72 of 82 games while competing at an All-Star level to bring the Thunder to the Western Conference Finals.

He famously signed with the Warriors during the 2016 offseason and was healthy for his first 60 games in a Warriors uniform that season, but he suffered a left MCL sprain and tibial bone bruise that forced him to miss 20 games.

Durant came back for the playoffs — only missing two games in the first round against the Trail Blazers — and averaged 28.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists en route to his first-ever NBA title and Finals MVP.

2018-19: Strained right calf

Durant played in 78 of 82 games in 2018-19 and had the Warriors cruising in the 2019 NBA Playoffs, looking for their third consecutive ring. He was averaging 34.2 points per game in the postseason before he went down with a strained right calf in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Rockets.

Durant missed Game 6 against the Rockets, all four games of the Warriors’ sweep of the Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals and the first four games of the NBA Finals before he tried to get back on the court to help his team win another championship.

2019 NBA Finals: Torn right Achilles

11 minutes and 57 seconds into Durant’s NBA Finals return, the superstar forward went down with a non-contact injury on the same leg as his strained right calf.

Durant suffered a torn right Achilles, forcing him to miss his entire first season in Brooklyn in 2019-20.

2020-21: Left hamstring strain

Durant was ready for Opening Night in 2020-21 and it didn’t take him long to pick up where he left off, averaging 30.5 points over his first 15 games.

Durant was already on an injury management plan, missing nine of his team’s first 28 games before he suffered a left hamstring strain that would sideline him for 23 games and change.

Durant only played in 35 games that season but would come back for the playoffs, nearly knocking off the eventual champion Bucks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

2021-22: Left MCL sprain

Last season, Durant only appeared in 55 games due to another left MCL sprain — the same MCL that caused him to miss 20 games at the back end of the 2016-17 season.

He returned for the home stretch of the season and playoffs, but the Nets were swept out of the first round by the Celtics.

2022-23: Right MCL sprain

As mentioned in the intro, this injury was more bad luck than anything else. This time, Durant suffered an MCL sprain on his opposite knee from the one that had given him problems in the past, all because of an awkward fall from his opponent.

Durant is expected to miss a month of action and it will be interesting to see if he can continue to return to peak form despite all of these lower body injuries.

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