Brooklyn Nets Prepare to Compete Without Star Forward Kevin Durant

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Brooklyn Nets Prepare to Compete Without Star Forward Kevin Durant

The Brooklyn Nets have been dealt a blow as star forward Kevin Durant will be out for the next few weeks with a sprained MCL in his right knee. However, coach Jacque Vaughn is determined to not let this setback turn into an excuse for his team.

"That's the biggest thing. I'm not giving this group a chance to make excuses," Vaughn stated during Wednesday's practice, per ESPN. "Here to play. Here to win. Here to compete. It doesn't change. Love them." In the absence of Durant, Vaughn and center Nic Claxton believe that this team is better prepared than last year.

A six-week absence with an MCL sprain resulted in a 5-18 record for the Nets during Durant's absence. "Just our spirit, our energy, our vibes," Claxton said. "The way that we've been defending, even though we're definitely going to miss him [Durant] out there.

I'm going to miss him out there on the defensive end. ... Offensively, we'll figure it out." Vaughn has recently spoken to Durant and he is in good spirits. "I think this group has shown they have resolve, they have the ability to fight, and a belief," Vaughn said.

As part of his recovery from foot injuries that hampered him for the past two seasons, Vaughn mentioned veteran swingman TJ Warren won't play "40 minutes" in Durant's place. In order to compensate for Durant's ability to score from midrange, the team may have to take more 3-pointers as a group.

"It's unfortunate," Claxton said of Durant's absence. "You never want to see anybody get injured. The best player in the world, he's out, but guys got to step up. We've been in this position before. Not this year, but in previous years, so guys got to step up and take on a bigger role." Vaughn is confident that the team will be better when Durant returns.

"We'll be a better team when he returns." The Nets will have to rally together and step up in Durant's absence to maintain their winning streak.