According to Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman, Thunder superstar and reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant could make his season debut this week, and possibly as soon as Tuesday when Oklahoma City will take on the New Orleans Pelicans on the road. Durant has missed the Thunder’s first 17 games of the season due to a jones fracture he suffered back in October.
It’s not out of the question that Brooks will announce Durant as a game-time decision at the team’s Tuesday morning shootaround.
But in the case of Durant, all indications are that he’s set to return from a season long absence caused by a broken right foot. He appears to be so close that any game from here out could be the night. If he doesn’t take the court Tuesday night at New Orleans, it would be surprising if he doesn’t play Friday at Philadelphia. If he skips the Sixers game, we’d be shocked if he doesn’t make his debut Sunday at Detroit.
In Durant’s absence, the injury riddled Thunder went 5-12, digging themselves a sizable hole in the Western Conference playoff hunt. Oklahoma City is currently 13th in the West, and 5.5 games back of the 8th seed.
Last year, it took the Dallas Mavericks 49 wins to clinch the conference’s 8th seed. If you do the math, Oklahoma City must go 44-21 the rest of the season to reach at least the 49 wins that it took for to get Dallas into the postseason last year.
As they look to inch their way up the standings, Oklahoma City looks to have Durant back for a December that includes more road than home games, and contests against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs.
Durant began practicing last week, and his last five practices have included contact according to Mayberry. Mayberry also reports that Durant has not suffered a single setback since participating in practice.
Thunder star point guard Russell Westbrook returned from a right hand fracture in furious fashion last Friday, torching the New York Knicks for 32 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds in 24 minutes of work. Westbrook suffered the injury during the Thunder’s second game of the season against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Kevin Durant was named the 2013-14 NBA MVP after averaging 32 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game.
UPDATE: December 2nd, 11:00 AM ET.
According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, the Oklahoma City Thunder expect Kevin Durant to make his season debut Tuesday against the New Orleans Pelicans barring any setbacks at morning shootaround. Durant underwent surgery on October 16th, and doctors have told him there is a 5% chance of him re-breaking his foot.