Thunder's Durant undergoes surgery, will be reevaluated in six weeks
Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant will miss at least six weeks after undergoing surgery on Thursday to address a Jones fracture in his right foot.
The NBA's reigning MVP informed the the Thunder on Saturday that he was experiencing discomfort in his foot. Oklahoma City's medical personnel then diagnosed Durant with a Jones fracture—an injury to the fifth metatarsal bone—and his initial recovery timeline was set at six-to-eight weeks prior to the surgery. Thunder GM Sam Presti said in a statement Thursday that Durant will be re-evaluated in six weeks.
The injury will sideline Durant for the rest of Oklahoma City's preseason schedule, which concludes on Oct. 21. The five-time All-Star forward will also miss the Thunder's Oct. 29 regular season opener against the Blazers and is expected to miss roughly one month of the regular season.
"Successful surgery," Durant wrote on Twitter following his procedure. "Thanks for all the prayers and concerns!"
If Durant is cleared to play after his re-evaluation, he could theoretically return to the court by Nov. 28, missing Oklahoma City's first 16 games. If Durant is sidelined for eight weeks, he would be looking at a Dec. 11 return after sitting out 21 games.
The foot injury marks the first time that Durant will miss significant time during his illustrious seven-year career. The 26-year-old forward missed just six combined games over the last five seasons, and he has appeared in 97 percent of his team's games since he was selected with the No. 2 pick in 2007.
Needless to say, the Thunder will dearly miss their franchise player. Durant averaged a league-high 32 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.3 steals while playing a league-high 3,122 minutes last season. Along the way, Durant posted career-highs in Player Efficiency Rating (29.9) and Win Shares (19.2), leading the NBA in both categories. SI.com ranked Durant at No. 2 on our "Top 100 Players of 2015" list, trailing only Cavaliers forward LeBron James.
Oklahoma City will also open the season without Derek Fisher (retired to coach the Knicks), Caron Butler (signed with the Pistons) and Thabo Sefolosha (signed with the Hawks), forcing coach Scott Brooks to turn to younger players (Perry Jones, Andre Roberson, Jeremy Lamb) and incoming free agent Anthony Morrow as he builds out his perimeter rotation. Look for Brooks to reroute his offense through All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook, spark plug guard Reggie Jackson and power forward Serge Ibaka until Durant, a four-time NBA scoring champ, returns.
The early-season schedule could be worse for the Thunder, as they look to tread water during Durant's absence. Although Oklahoma City gets two of the West's top five teams (the Blazers and Clippers) in a back-to-back road trip to open the season, the Thunder's first 16 games are split evenly in terms of venue (eight at home and eight on the road) and quality of opponent (eight against 2014 playoff teams and eight against 2014 lottery teams). After that nightmare back-to-back during the season's opening week, the Thunder won't play another road game against a team that won 50 games last season until Dec. 18 against the Warriors, at which point Durant should be back.