Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, who has missed the last six weeks of action due to a broken foot, is set to return to action tonight when the Thunder take on the New Orleans Pelicans.
Durant, who was last season’s league MVP, underwent surgery for a Jones fracture in his right foot on October 16 and, at the time of the surgery, doctors gave Durant a 6 to 8 week timetable before he would be able to return to action.
Thunder fans may have high expectations for Durant’s season debut tonight. However, Durant addressed those expectations and spoke about trying to play at the highest level possible.
“I know it’s going to be a little bit different for me not having played and then going out there and playing the highest level of basketball. But I’m looking forward to going out there and seeing where I am and playing as hard as I can for my team.”
OKC head coach Scott Brooks said that he plans to let Durant play around 30 minutes tonight. “I have to be able to manage [Durant’s injury],” Brooks said. “You go in to every game thinking you have so many minutes and I have to structure the game plan around that.”
Durant has been extremely durable in his 7 year career, only missing 14 games in total since he came into the NBA back in 2007. Last season, Durant averaged a league-best 32.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists, winning the NBA’s most valuable player award.
Durant admitted that he has a bit of anxiety heading in to tonight’s game against the Pelicans. “It’s just made me more anxious,” Durant said. “Pissed me off a little bit more.”
While Durant has been out of action, fellow Oklahoma City Thunder all-star Russell Westbrook has been dealing with his own injury issues. Westbrook made his return to the court last week and was sensational, scoring 32 points in just 23 minutes of action. Durant is hoping to have the same kind of impact in his return tonight.
With Durant and Westbrook out of the lineup, the Thunder have struggled with a record of 5-12. Now, with Westbrook and Durant returning to the lineup, the Thunder look to reclaim their position as one of the true contenders in the NBA’s western conference.
You can catch Durant’s return to the court tonight at 8 p.m. eastern time, as the Thunder take on the New Orleans Pelicans.
[Image via SportsCenter]