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Kyrie elbowed in face; no plans for KD this year

Nets point guard Kyrie Irving caught an inadvertent elbow during a pick-up game at Brooklyn’s practice facility Tuesday and was sent to the hospital to be evaluated, but general manager Sean Marks said the team was just being cautious.

“I wouldn’t even want to speculate at all but I think it’s just a case of doing our due diligence,” Marks said, adding that coach Kenny Atkinson accompanied Irving to the hospital. “Kyrie goes and gets checked out like he would anywhere else and we always send staff with him, and it’s a great opportunity for Kenny, too.”

Marks, speaking to reporters at the team’s media day, also made it clear that the Nets do not plan on having Kevin Durant this season, as he is expected to miss the entire year recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered while playing for the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of the NBA finals against the Toronto Raptors.

Marks said Durant’s recovery is going well and the GM said he believes the 10-time All-Star wants to play this season. Durant will have a say in determining when he’s ready, Marks said, but the team is taking a long-term approach and planning on him not playing.

Irving and Durant were the two prize free agents the Nets acquired in a stunning transformation when free agency opened on June 30.

Marks praised his new point guard on Tuesday, saying Irving has already shown leadership and intensity in the team’s summer get-togethers. He said Irving has been “religious” in his participation in workouts at the team’s practice facility. Marks said he could already see camaraderie building between the team’s veterans and young players.

Training camp officially opens for the Nets on Saturday, because they’re taking part in the NBA’s preseason China Games, facing the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 10 in Shanghai and Oct. 12 in Shenzhen. They open the regular season on Oct. 23 against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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