When the Nets signed Kevin Durant, they understood their 2019-20 season was likely to take place without the star forward.
But since Brooklyn (3-4) tipped off the NBA schedule two weeks ago, Durant has made some notable strides.
Durant worked out Wednesday during the Nets' practice at the HSS Training Center, stepping into 15-foot shots, as seen by Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News.
Need a Kevin Durant injury update? I don't think we've seen him move this well yet pic.twitter.com/uf4XA9dbqt- Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) November 6, 2019
Durant made 15 straight midrange attempts before Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson and Brooklyn's performance staff, according to Winfield.
"I just like hanging out with him and watching that ball go in every time," Atkinson told reporters, including Winfield, after practice. "Even form shooting. It's amazing. It's like he's just such a, it's a thing of beauty watching him shoot. It's great having him out there, he's out here the whole practice and obviously got some form shooting in."
Durant has been previously seen catching and shooting flat-footed shots in a stationary position, so the latest progression is a good sign -- although the plans have not changed.
"I think what he said is the best thing -- don't expect him back," Atkinson said of Durant, according to Anthony Rieber of Newsday. "That's kind of where we are ... I don't want to give you any information that says, 'Oh, he's this far,' and I'm wrong."
Atkinson's comments are in line with the latest trend, based on what Durant said last week.
There is no rush for Durant, who ruptured his left Achilles during Game 5 of June's NBA Finals as a third-year member of the Golden State Warriors before he signed with the Nets in July on a four-year deal worth $164 million, to come back this year.
As he said last Thursday in his interview with First Take on ESPN, Durant does not plan to play this season.
"Not right now," Durant told Stephen A. Smith. "I'm not thinking about it. Just rehabbing every day. I'm still -- it's a slow process, so I'm grinding."
In the meantime, the 10-time All-Star and four-time scoring champion who averaged 27.0 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists over his first nine years with the Seattle Sonics/Oklahoma City Thunder (2007-16) and Warriors (2016-19) has maintained a presence elsewhere as he works back.
"He gets in our coaches huddles, especially when it gets tough," Atkinson said. "I think he picks his spots when to say something. He's pretty quiet, but when he has to say something, he'll step up in the film room or in a timeout. He's just got a really good feel for that.
"I could see someone coming in and being loud and boisterous. He could be that guy. He has every right to be that guy with his knowledge, but he's just struck the right chord, the right balance of interjecting himself."