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NBA World Reacts To Kevin Durant's Return On Sunday

Kevin Durant warms up before a game.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 22: Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on during warmups before the game against the Golden State Warriors at Barclays Center on December 22, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

The Brooklyn Nets will be much closer to full strength this afternoon, as Kevin Durant plans to return to the lineup for Sunday's game against the Phoenix Suns.

Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news this morning that Durant will be available for Steve Nash in the contest between two of the top three teams in the NBA. The 32-year-old All Star has missed the team's last three games with a left thigh contusion that he sustained in the first quarter of Brooklyn's game against the Miami Heat on April 18.

"Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant is planning to return to the lineup vs. Phoenix today, sources tell ESPN. Durant missed three games with a left leg contusion. Tip at 3:30 PM ET on ESPN," Wojnarowski tweeted on Sunday morning.

Having Durant back on Sunday bodes well for the Nets who could use a win to extend their one-game Eastern Conference lead on the Philadelphia 76ers. However, they'll be tested by the Devin Booker and Chris Paul-led Suns, who currently hold the No. 2 spot in the West.

Regardless of the outcome, with Durant's return, Sunday's game between the two top NBA competitors is now must-watch TV.

Durant's most recent injury absence will ideally be his last in what's been a frustrating season for the 11-time All Star. After missing two months with a hamstring strain and multiple short stints at the beginning of the year due to the league's healthy and safety protocols, the Nets forward has played in just 24 of the team's 60 games this season. Even still, he remains the team's leading scorer, averaging 27.3 points per game.

As a result of Durant's injury woes, Brooklyn has struggled to get its superstar trio on the court together. James Harden remains out indefinitely with a hamstring strain of his own, which means the Nets will still be shorthanded on Sunday. The combination of Durant, Harden and Kyrie Irving have played in just seven games together this year.

With just 12 games to go in the regular season, the Nets will hope to develop some sort of chemistry before the start of the postseason. Durant and the rest of Brooklyn's roster, sans-Harden, will get the chance to do so on Sunday against the Suns.

Tip-off is at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.