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Injury suffered against Wizards likely to sideline Kevin Durant until playoffs

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USA Today Sports

Injury suffered against Wizards likely to sideline Kevin Durant until playoffs

Kevin Durant was in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday night to take on the Wizards for the first time as a member of the Warriors, and the return to his hometown ended in the worst way possible.

Durant exited the first quarter of the Wizards' 112-108 victory with a knee injury after teammate Zaza Pachulia accidentally collided with him.

Durant was ruled out for the rest of the game with a hyper extended knee and was set to undergo an MRI to reveal the severity of the injury.

On Wednesday morning, the Warriors announced the results of the MRI, and while it's not terrible it certainly isn't good.

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"Following reviews of the MRI by the Warriors' medical staff, it has been determined that Durant suffered a Grade 2 Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) sprain and a tibial bone bruise," the official press release stated. "He will be out of action indefinitely and will be re-evaluated in four weeks. There is no timetable for his return, but it has not been ruled out that he could play again before the end of the regular season."

With the regular season coming to an end mid-April, Durant would be tentatively slated for a return with six games remaining before the playoffs.

Unless the Warriors go on a considerable losing streak, they are more than likely to be the top seed in the Western Conference playoff bracket. While it would be ideal to get Durant some playing time before the playoffs begin, it may not be worth it, especially considering how rare it is for No. 8 seeds to upset No. 1 seeds in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

Could life for the Warriors without Durant be different?

Perhaps, but it was last year, and the team won an NBA record 73 regular-season games and were one win away from back-to-back NBA championships.

 

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Five observations from Wizards' loss to the Nets, including another rebounding disaster

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USA TODAY SPORTS

Five observations from Wizards' loss to the Nets, including another rebounding disaster

The Washington Wizards lost to the Brooklyn Nets 125-118 on Friday night. Here are five observations from the game...

1. The Wizards have a real problem with the Nets, a team they had dominated not long ago. With a loss in Brooklyn on Friday night, the Wizards have lost four of their past six meetings with the Nets. Previously, they won nine of 10 matchups going back to 2015.

The Wizards, to be fair, aren't playing well against anyone right now. They have lost four straight games and six of their last nine. This game was supposed to be one that was manageable, but they couldn't take advantage.

2. One of the most crippling problems for the Wizards season just will not go away. Once again, the Wizards were outworked on the glass and by a significant margin. The Nets out-rebounded the Wizards 46-25 and it could have been worse if it weren't for both teams shooting 52 percent or better. 

Washington has now been edged in rebounds 22 times in 29 games this season. This time, it was a collective effort for their opponent. Seven different Nets players had four boards or more.

Meanwhile, there were plenty of Wizards players who came up short. Their entire starting lineup combined for eight rebounds. Thomas Bryant and Markieff Morris had three rebounds apiece.

3. Free throw shooting loomed large in this one, both in terms of attempts and percentage. The Nets took 31 free throws and made 26 of them, good for 83.9 percent. The Wizards attempted only 16 and made nine, for 56.3 percent.

Opponent free throw percentage is always an odd stat to evaluate. There is a certain amount of luck involved, as there's nothing teams can really do to affect it. 

Yet, the Wizards happen to be near the bottom of the league in opponents free throw percentage. Teams are shooting 79.3 percent at the line in games against them. Only the Lakers have seen teams shoot better, at 81.6 percent.

4. Otto Porter Jr. was out for the second straight game as he continues to deal with a right knee contusion. Just like Wednesday, Porter was considered a gametime decision but was ruled out after a pregame workout with trainers.

Porter only played seven minutes on Monday before leaving with the injury, so he has missed the better part of three games. The team has described it as non-serious, that it's just a deep bruise, but it has been enough for him to miss consecutive games for the first time in nearly a year, since Dec. 17 and 19 of last season. He hasn't missed three games since the 2015-16 season, by the way.

5. With Porter out, it was once again Sam Dekker who benefitted most. Jeff Green got the start in Porter's place, but it was Dekker who got the leftover minutes as a backup. Head coach Scott Brooks has opted for Dekker in consecutive games now over Troy Brown Jr. and Devin Robinson. Brown was their first-round pick in June and Robinson has been in the system for two years now.

While Dekker is above those guys on the depth chart at the moment, that doesn't necessarily say much about the big picture. The Wizards could simply be using Porter's absence as an opportunity to get an extended look at their newest acquisition. 

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Report: Wizards finalizing deal to trade Kelly Oubre Jr., Austin Rivers for Trevor Ariza

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Report: Wizards finalizing deal to trade Kelly Oubre Jr., Austin Rivers for Trevor Ariza

The current Washington Wizards, now 11-18 and losers of four in a row, need help. They may be bringing back one of their former players just for that purpose.

The Wizards are reportedly in "advanced talks" to acquire Phoenix Suns forward Trevor Ariza as part of a 3-team deal, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The scenario would send Kelly Oubre Jr. to the Memphis Grizzlies and Austin Rivers to the Suns. 

Ariza, 33, played two seasons with Washington from 2012-2014. His two-way presence helped turn the Wizards into a playoff team in 2014. One of the league's best 3-and-D players, Ariza continued his productive over the next four seasons in Houston. After he started for a Rockets team that reached the Western Conference Finals last season, the small forward signed a one-year, $15 million contract with the Suns.

Oubre, the Wizards' 2015 first-round pick, has significant potential but remains an erratic player four years into his career. He is also a restricted free agent this summer.

Washington acquired Rivers, a wing guard threat off the bench, this offseason for center Marcin Gortat.

By league rules, Saturday marks the first day players that signed as free agents this summer can be traded.

Ariza is averaging 9.9 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting 36 percent on 3-pointers in 26 games with the Suns this season.

Below are the latest details of the reported trade for all three teams. 

WIZARDS GET:
-Trevor Ariza (SF)
-Grizzlies 2020 second round pick
-Conditional Grizzlies 2019 second round pick

GRIZZLIES GET:
-Kelly Oubre Jr. (SF)
-Austin Rivers (PG)

SUNS GET:
-Wayne Selden (SG)
-MarShon Brooks (SG)

Check back for more on the Ariza rumor and more on NBC Sports Washington.

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