The Oklahoma City Thunder are likely losing Kevin Durant for the remainder of the season, and the team could be looking to a surprising player to step up in his absence.
Duran was held out of practice on Thursday after suffering some soreness in his foot. Durant had already undergone surgery in October to help the ailing foot, but it hasn’t been recovering as well as he or the team had hoped. A screw inserted during the surgery had been bothering Durant, and last month he had another procedure meant to alleviate some of the pressure.
But the foot is still hurting, and the Oklahoma City Thunder are ready to hold Kevin Durant out for the rest of this season.
“He’s not making the progress we’d hoped or expected,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said on Friday.
Presti went on to say that shutting Durant down for the year is “the direction we’re headed right now.”
The injury seemed to be taking its toll on Kevin Durant in other ways. The normally cordial and polite Durant lashed out at the media this year, calling them out during All-Star Weekend after he was questioned about the job security of coach Scott Brooks.
In a tense exchange with reporters, Durant told the group, “You guys really don’t know s***.”
Durant told reporters he didn’t like their questions, then laid into a reporter who asked Durant what kind of questions he would like to answer.
“To be honest, man, I’m only here talking to y’all because I have to,” Durant said.
“So I really don’t care. Y’all not my friends. You’re going to write what you want to write. You’re going to love us one day and hate us the next. That’s a part of it. So I just learn how to deal with y’all.”
Though Durant later apologized and was largely seen as standing up for his coach, sources said that the frustration over his foot injury played a big part on the frustrations.
The loss of Durant could be very costly to the Thunder. The team is currently 38-30 and holding onto the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. Despite the nagging injuries, Durant had been averaging 25.4 points and 6.6 rebounds this season.
With the rumors pointing to an end of the season for Kevin Durant, the Oklahoma City Thunder could rely more heavily on Russell Westbrook, who is averaging 34.6 points per game in his last 10 games. But it also may mean a bigger role for an unlikely source — some in the organization believe that the team could rely more heavily on Perry Jones, who has looked strong in his limited minutes this year.
[Image via USA Today]