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Nets' Kevin Durant scores 15 against Wizards in return from Achilles injury

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) and guard Kyrie Irving (11) return to the court following a timeout during the first half of a preseason game against the Washington Wizards on Sunday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Photo by Peter Foley/EPA-EFE
Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) and guard Kyrie Irving (11) return to the court following a timeout during the first half of a preseason game against the Washington Wizards on Sunday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Photo by Peter Foley/EPA-EFE

Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Brooklyn Nets star forward Kevin Durant, who spent almost two years rehabilitating a serious Achilles injury, returned to the basketball court for the first time in 552 days for a preseason game against the Washington Wizards on Sunday.

"I was anxious, nervous," Durant said after the game. "I visualized this moment for so long. Nine, ten months of thinking about how it would be -- this next phase of my career. I felt like I was chomping at the bit. Especially once COVID hit because I didn't see a future -- when the season was going to start in the future. I was going through it.

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"So, to go through this felt solid."

The Nets' first points in the game came from a ferocious Durant dunk in the first quarter. He followed up his slam with an assist to center DeAndre Jordan.

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Brooklyn went on to beat the Wizards 119-114 in the preseason game, which was Durant's first in a Nets uniform. He finished with 15 points, three rebounds and three assists in 24 minutes. He shot 5-of-12 from the field and added two blocks.

"It felt great, you know, to be back in a routine and get back on the floor and feel like a player again," Durant said. "I didn't think I played great. I felt I had some solid moments.

"... It's good to get back in the flow of things and it definitely gives me some confidence. It's a good step and I am trying to build on it."

Durant's last NBA action came in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals. In that game, he went down with a ruptured Achilles tendon in his right leg. He was helped off the court in Toronto as some Raptors fans cheered about his injury.

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The Raptors went on to win the NBA championship, and Durant moved from the Golden State Warriors to the Nets that summer. After signing a four-year, $164 million contract with the Nets in free agency, he sat out the entire 2019-20 campaign to fully recover from his Achilles injury.

Nets guard Kyrie Irving, who hasn't played since February after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery, had 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting against the Wizards. The All-Star guard, who played for 18 minutes, declined to speak to reporters following the game.

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