Kevin Durant underwent successful bone graft surgery on Tuesday, and the timetable for him to return to basketball activities has been set at 4-6 months.
The foot fracture he suffered during the preseason never quite healed properly, and the injury limited him to appearing in just 27 games this season, which essentially removed the Thunder from the list of title contenders despite Russell Westbrook’s MVP-like emergence.
Even if Durant takes the full six months to recover — and he should, to make absolutely sure the issue is behind him for good — that would still have him ready for the start of training camp in advance of next season. The 2015-16 campaign is a monumental one for the Thunder franchise, because how it ends could help determine whether or not Durant decides to re-sign as an unrestricted free agent when it’s finished.
At the moment, however, Durant seems to be pleased with life in OKC.
From Royce Young of ESPN.com:
“I love it here, man. I love my teammates, I love the city, I don’t really think about anywhere else,” Durant told Revolt TV in a recent interview. “I hear it all the time, don’t get me wrong, and once you hear it you’re kind of like [looks up, thinking]. But for me, I love staying in the moment, and I’m one of those guys that would love to stick it out with one team my whole career.
“Kobe [Bryant], Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki type. That’s awesome,” he said. “But you never know what the future holds sometimes and how teams may feel about you after a while, but I love it here and I would love to get my jersey retired here.”
The qualifier there is important, because a year from now, if a healthy Thunder team can’t contend for a title as planned, then Durant would have every reason to question whether or not he wants to try his luck in a new situation — like Washington, perhaps.
But there are simply too many variables in play to read anything into this latest round of remarks.