Yesterday, Thunder coach Scott Brooks indicated Kevin Durant’s recovery was trending the wrong direction.
Today, Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti showed the setback was no small issue.
The team is removing Durant, who’d begun practicing, from basketball activities.
“When he’s healthy to play, and when he’s able to return without that soreness, he’ll be back on the floor,” Presti said. “If that takes the rest of the regular season, if that takes the rest of the playoffs, that’s what it’s going to take.
“He’s not making the progress that we had hoped and anticipated him making.”
Asked whether Durant shutting down for the rest of the season would be best for him, Presti said, “That’s the direction we’re taking right now.” Presti added that Durant will undergo more testing.
This lingering injury is definitely reason to be concerned about the long-term outlook of Durant, 26.
For Oklahoma City, the short-term is also murky.
The Thunder are eighth in the Western Conference, one game ahead of the Pelicans and 2.5 games ahead of the Suns.
Serge Ibaka could miss the rest of the regular season, and Enes Kanter is also banged up. If Oklahoma City is going to make the playoffs, Russell Westbrook must continue to carry a huge load.
But more than the postseason, the focus is on Durant.
“The goal is to get him back on the court healthy whenever that is,” Presti said. “The last thing on our mind is ever putting a player in position to try to win a ball game at expense of their health.”