Durant returns to Nets’ lineup after 23-game absence

NEW YORK — Kevin Durant is back in the starting lineup for the Brooklyn Nets after missing 23 games with a strained left hamstring.

The Nets’ game against New Orleans on Wednesday night was Durant’s first since Feb. 13 at Golden State. He and the Nets originally thought his injury was minor, but subsequent testing showed it to be more serious.

Coach Steve Nash said the Nets would be careful with Durant in his return and didn’t plan on sending him out to play 35 minutes.

Durant returned a day after the Nets announced that James Harden would be sidelined at least the next 10 days with his own hamstring injury. Brooklyn has had its All-Star trio of Durant, Harden and Kyrie Irving together for just seven games.