This time, Durant is well and truly out for the rest of the 2014-15 NBA season.
There won’t be a last-minute regular season comeback. Nor will there be a Willis Reed-ian playoff return when the Thunder are down 2-3 in a series.
Due to lingering problems with his foot, the Thunder have decided to take the cautious route and have the reigning MVP undergo bone graft surgery next week, causing him to be sidelined for the next four to six months, ending his season.
As we communicated last week, Kevin was going to use this time to engage in consultation and evaluation regarding the persistent soreness in his right foot at this stage of his rehabilitation. As part of this process, Kevin and Thunder personnel traveled to two additional specialists this past week; Dr. Martin O’Malley in New York City and Dr. James Nunley at Duke University. These in-person consults were designed to further supplement the previous evaluations of Dr. Bob Anderson. Several conference calls and discussions amongst the specialist team concluded that, while the majority of the soreness in Kevin’s foot was related to continued inflammation of the cuboid bone and would subside with rest, the evaluation process also determined that the Jones fracture of the fifth metatarsal, which had shown significant healing previously, was now demonstrating signs of regression.
With the focus of this process being aimed entirely on Kevin’s long term health and stability, it was the consensus of the specialists team, in addition to a collective decision by Kevin, his representation and the Thunder, that to address the setback of the fracture site, a bone graft procedure would be the most proactive and recommended approach. The bone graft is the standard procedure for the five to eight percent of Jones fracture surgeries that do not initially have success or experience setbacks sometime within the recovery period. While everyone is disappointed that Kevin falls into that group, we are encouraged that the bone graft procedure has historically demonstrated long-term health and stability.
This has been the season from hell for Durant, who previously missed just three percent of his games during his first seven seasons. He suffered a fractured foot early in October, then got whacked with a couple of sprains in December and January, and then needed a replacement screw in his foot in February.
Just last week, the team announced that he was out indefinitely.
In the 27 games he played this season, he’s put up 25.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists. That’s a sharp dip from his 2013-14 numbers of 32.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists.
As of writing, with Russell Westbrook fueling them, Durant’s OKC Thunder squad is in eighth place in the West with a three-game lead on the next closest team, the Phoenix Suns. But unless Westbrook can bring his triple-double magic to play in each playoff game, it is unlikely that the team will go far this postseason.
Photo from the Thunder website