All season, the positive developments around the Nets have seemed to be matched (and often overwhelmed) by the setbacks.
So it was fitting that about an hour before Kevin Durant returned for his first game in more than six weeks, the team announced Joe Harris will be out for the season.
The sharpshooter had not played since Nov. 14 and required surgery on his left ankle Nov. 29. The procedure was expected to keep him out four to eight weeks, yet his ankle did not heal as hoped.
An additional arthroscopic surgery is being scheduled in the coming weeks, GM Sean Marks announced Thursday, which means Harris will not take the court again this season or postseason.
“We know how deeply disappointed Joe is to miss this stretch run, but he remains a huge part of who we are as an organization,” Marks said in a statement before the Nets lost to the Heat at Barclays Center, “and while he won ‘t be able to contribute on the court, his presence and positivity around the team will continue to be felt by all.”
Harris is the longest-tenured Net, a bridge between eras since joining the team in 2016-17 (a group led by Brook Lopez). He has seen the bad times and good and wanted a chance at redemption following a poor postseason last year.
Yet, his campaign ends after 14 games. If he qualified, the 30-year-old would be the league’s 3-point percentage leader (46.6).
At full health, the Nets have enough wings without Harris after adding Seth Curry to pair with Patty Mills. But Mills has struggled as his minutes have piled up, and the 6-foot-6 Harris offers a presence and flexibility that the 6-2 Curry does not.
Brooklyn has gotten used to these blows. Durant was playing in his first game in about a month and a half after spraining his MCL in his left knee. Ben Simmons has not debuted since the Nets traded for him three weeks ago, and because of a back injury, he is at least another two weeks away. Kyrie Irving was first banned and then brought back as a part-time player because of his vaccination status.
But Harris is the first loss the Nets will definitely feel in the postseason.
Marks said Harris worked “diligently over the past several months” to rehab his ankle. Harris’ agent, Mark Bartelstein, warned The Post’s Brian Lewis that this procedure could be coming.
“It’s possible that there could be one more procedure he could do that would fix the ankle once and for good,” Bartelstein said last month. “So the long-term prognosis is great, it’s not gonna be a problem.”