Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant, who has been out of the lineup since February 23rd after undergoing a second procedure on his right foot, has increased the intensity of his workouts as he looks to make a return to the floor before the conclusion of the regular season. Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman tweeted out the news regarding Durant on Monday afternoon:
Kevin Durant intensifying his individual work after practice today. Some full court running and full speed shooting drills.
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) March 9, 2015
Durant underwent surgery for a Jones fracture in his right foot back in October, and the injury has proved to be problematic all season long. After capturing his first MVP award last year, Durant has managed to play in only 27 games for the Thunder this season due to issues stemming from the surgically repaired foot.
Despite Durant’s absence, the Thunder have managed to capture the Western Conference’s eight seed, as they lead the New Orleans Pelicans by one game for the West’s final playoff spot. Oklahoma City’s resurgence after a sluggish start to the season can be accredited to the historically great play of Russell Westbrook, who has taken absurdity to another level in his recent stretch of games.
Westbrook averaged 31.2 points, 10.3 assists and 9.1 rebounds in the month of February, and he’s somehow upped that statistical output, averaging 40.7 points, 11.3 assists and 11.7 rebounds in the month of March thus far. He’s tallied five triple-doubles in his last six games, and now he and Oscar Robertson are the only two players in NBA history to amass 200 points, 50 rebounds and 50 assists over a five-game span.
Although Durant’s absence has served as a springboard for Westbrook to enter the MVP conversation, the Thunder desperately need their best player if they plan to make a deep playoff run. The Thunder are optimistic Durant will be able to return before the regular season ends, but they shouldn’t rush the return of their star. The healthier Durant is, the scarier of a postseason foe Oklahoma City becomes. It’ll be interesting to see how much noise the Thunder can make against their likely postseason opponent, the Golden State Warriors.