Kevin Durant was practicing with the Thunder, and a return to the lineup seemed somewhat imminent, considering the team’s timetable that was set eight days ago at one-to-two weeks.
But that’s in some jeopardy now, as Durant was held out of practice on Thursday after experiencing some additional soreness.
“Experiencing a little bit of soreness,” Brooks said. “That’s expected. We have some peaks and valleys, and we always have a cautious approach, so today he didn’t do anything.” …
Asked if he’d classify Durant’s soreness as a setback, or how he’d classify it, Brooks worked around the edges of answering that.
“Just he experienced some soreness,” Brooks said. “I think when you go through rehab, we all know through the rehab process you’re going to have some peaks and valleys, and you just have to adjust accordingly. That’s why he was off today, and he’s definitely not playing tomorrow. That’s all part of the process with his rehab.” …
Again, Durant was given a timetable of “a week or two” eight days ago, which suggested he would be back soon. Him not practicing today is certainly a step in the wrong direction of returning, and it certainly appears he’s not on track.
This is one reason I don’t think it matters at all for the Thunder exactly when Durant returns, or whether he does at all this season.
Oklahoma City is battling just to make the playoffs as an eight-seed, and if the team achieves its goal, the reward is a first round date with the Warriors — a team that’s been a cohesive unit since the season began, and has looked like world-beaters more nights than they haven’t.
The Thunder, meanwhile, are cobbling together lineups and barely hanging on. They made a midseason trade to send Reggie Jackson packing, and brought in both Dion Waiters and Enes Kanter as a way to fortify the roster. Those moves have worked to varying degrees, but what’s important is just how disjointed the team has been for the bulk of the second half of the season.
Even if Durant comes back and is 100 percent, he still has to find a way to coexist with Russell Westbrook — who’s been playing fantastically, but also has been using a ton of the Thunder’s offensive possessions.
There will be an adjustment period, and should the Thunder be fortunate enough to figure things out in time to string together some regular season wins and sneak into the playoffs, there’s absolutely no chance they beat the Warriors four times in a seven game series.
Best wishes and godspeed to Durant on his overall health and return to the lineup. I just don’t see it making one bit of difference for the Thunder’s chances this season.