OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Thunder forward Kevin Durant is having a tough time getting used to the fact that he will miss the early part of the season with a bone fracture in his right foot.
''I've been antsy since I got out of surgery,'' he said Tuesday. ''Seen that Chicago-Cleveland game last night, and I wanted to get out there and play. As a competitor, I love to play basketball - that's all I've been doing. Injuries have never had me out this long, but it's part of the game.''
The reigning MVP spoke to the media Tuesday morning for the first time since the injury. He had surgery on Oct. 16 and will be re-evaluated in about five weeks, or late November. He rolled into the media session on a scooter with the lower half of his right leg in a cast.
Durant said he's never had surgery, so he doesn't know how he will respond to it. He says he won't rush his return.
''Blessed that it happened early in the season so I can get past it, and hopefully, by December, I'll be ready to play,'' he said.
Durant, who has played more minutes than anyone since entering the league in 2007, is finding other ways to contribute to the team.
''Just help out as much as possible, lead from where I am, which is the sideline,'' he said. ''I feel like a coach, feel like (Alabama football coach) Nick Saban, rolling around on my scooter from court to court giving advice and trying to help out as much as I can. It's a different position for me, but I'm looking forward to growing mentally watching the game and learning from my teammates, trying to help them as much as I can.''
He said the situation presents an opportunity for his teammates to grow, and he feels that the team will be better off in the long run as a result.
''It's going to give guys opportunities to play, build confidence, build their chemistry as a team,'' he said. ''So I'm looking at the positive side of it. It's a win-win, basically, because I'm learning a lot while I'm out about the game, and my teammates are getting a lot of opportunities because it's a lot of minutes out there to play and help contribute to the team.''
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