While this is not good news for the Thunder, or, their fans…it does sound as if Durant will return before the end of the regular season.
During the first game after the All-Star break vs. Dallas, Durant was noticeably bothered by his ailing foot — unable to run — and went as far as to take himself out-of-the-game in the fourth quarter. Concerns about the injury began to escalate, as he was unable to play during last night’s game vs. Charlotte. It would be less of a concern if this was a new issue, but, Presti does say that Durant had this procedure because of continued discomfort related to his off-season surgery.
"“The fracture itself is healing excellently by all accounts and we continue to feel good about the prognosis moving forward, but in the short term as he continued to have this discomfort, we wanted to determine the best way to alleviate it while still promoting the continued healing of the initial injury.”"
While Presti does seem optimistic about Durant’s long-term recovery, the Thunder have immediate concerns to address — as they’re only 2 games up in the loss column on the Phoenix Suns and the New Orleans Pelicans for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, headed into action today. Kevin Durant’s 25.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists per game and his leadership/non-statistical impact on every play is simply irreplaceable, and if the Thunder want to hold on to their coveted playoff spot — everyone is going to have to step up.
The good news is: the Thunder have this guy named Russell Westbrook on their team too.
The Bestbrook of all Westbrooks is averaging and unfathomable 32 points 8 rebounds 9 assists and 3 steals per game this month … has catapulted himself into the MVP race … and in his last four games without Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook averaged 35.8 points, 8.5 assists, 7 rebounds per contest.
While Westbrook is capable enough to single-handily carry the Thunder to the playoffs during Durant’s absence, there’s no denying that Oklahoma City isn’t going anywhere, once they get to the post season, without their perennial superstar. Oklahoma City has an overall record of 18-9, this season, with Kevin in the lineup — and a 12-16 mark without him. In addition, Durant has a ridiculous +7.2 net plus/minus this year, which has resulted in the team’s offensive rating improving from 100.3 (without him) to 106.7 (with him), and on defense: from 101.5 (without him) to 99.5 (with him).
For the immediate future, the Thunder will be an interesting story to follow — as Presti just flipped the team’s roster on its head at the deadline, trading away Reggie Jackson and Kendrick Perkins … while adding DJ Augustin, Kyle Singler, Enes Kanter, and Steve Novak. Now, OKC Head Coach Scott Brooks will be forced to integrate these new pieces without his most important player AND starting center: Steven Adams.