Kevin Durant on return: “I’m not going to rush it all”


Kevin Durant literally rolled up to his press conference Tuesday morning to talk about his foot surgery — he was in a scooter.

“I feel like Nick Saban, just rolling around on my scooter court to court,” Durant said of his role with the Thunder right now during the press conference broadcast on NBA TV.

That’s all he can do. The reigning MVP, the best pure scorer in the game and the heart of the title contending Oklahoma City Thunder had surgery on the Jones fracture — a fracture of the fifth metatarsal above the little toe on the outside on his left foot — and officially he is going to be re-evaluated in six weeks (around Thanksgiving).

The reality talking to people who have had that surgery is it takes longer than that to get back, especially getting back to game shape. Combine that with the Thunder’s organizational desire to not push their stars to return too quickly (remember Russell Westbrook’s knee surgery recoveries) and you have to think it could be closer to Christmas before Durant returns. He’s down with that. Here was his response when asked if he could come back sooner.

“Nah, I’m not going to rush it all. That’s one thing I’m not going to do,” Durant said.

There was no new information or updated timetables from the press conference (the NBA requires players out for an extended period to meet with the media at least once, this was Durant fulfilling that obligation). Durant was Durant and isn’t the guy to say anything inflammatory in this setting.

Most of the talk of the presser was about how the Thunder will do without Durant. He will miss at least the first 16 games of the regular season, likely more than that. The Thunder are certainly still a good team, a playoff team without Durant but the question is how many additional games do they drop and how does that impact their seeding come playoff time.

The attention will focus on Russell Westbrook, the All-Star point guard for the Thunder, who will have the ball in his hands and is who he is because he is an aggressive playmaker.

“Just stay who you are,” Durant said he told Westbrook. “You don’t have to change what you do.”

Durant echoed what a lot of people around the Thunder have said — this can become an advantage down the line. If teammates are given chances they normally don’t get and step up, if the team comes together, it will be that much better when Durant does return.

“It’s a win-win, I’m learning a lot while I’m out and my teammates are getting opportunities,” Durant said.

We’ll see how he feels about it come December. But for now Durant is saying all the right things. As per usual.

CJ McCollum (who had same injury): Don’t be surprised if Durant is out longer than expected


CJ McCollum has been there.

During his senior year of college at Lehigh he suffered a Jones fracture — the one to the bone on the outside of the foot above your little toe, the one Kevin Durant suffered.

McCollum’s story shows why this can be a tricky injury. He had the surgery, a screw placed in his foot (as is expected to happen with Durant) but during training camp last season McCollum re-fractured the same foot. This thine he went through a non-surgical procedure to get back on the court.

McCollum spoke with Mike Tokito of the Oregonian about what Durant is going through.

“I feel bad for him, honestly,” McCollum said. “It’s something I’ve been through twice. You never wish injuries on any player, but if anybody can get through it, I’m sure he can. They’ve got a great medical staff out there. It seems like he caught it early enough to where it hasn’t become too severe….

“There are methods you can do besides getting surgery, but it’s his first break, so I’m sure they’ll probably recommend surgery,” McCollum said. “Either way, it’s a tough injury to recover from, depending on if it’s broken through all the way, the placement of the screw. There’s a lot of things that go into it, but if they say four to six (weeks), it’s probably more like eight to 10.”

The longer time frame makes sense in the Durant case, especially when you consider the Thunder have traditionally (and wisely) been cautious with bringing their young stars back from injury. This is early in the season, even if it costs them some spots in seeding the Thunder need to think about the long tern and about the playoffs.

Hopefully Durant’s recovery goes more smoothly than McCollum’s, but that is the biggest scare in all of this: Foot injuries are tricky.

Wednesday And-1 links: Sacramento’s new arena is going to be special


Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• Some architectural renderings of the new arena in Sacramento have been released, and the most interesting feature was a retractable glass entryway that lets people outside see into the area during events.

• If you read on thing today, it should be this oral history of David Stern’s 30-year tenure as NBA Commissioner, which ends this weekend.

• The United States government is investigating Dennis Rodman because during his controversial trip to North Korea he took some gifts to Kim Jung Un that violated US sanctions against North Korea. Apparently Rodman’s own vodka can be considered a premium product.

Magic Johnson slammed Mike D’Antoni on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I’m weary of Magic’s act as an analyst, this whole “this shouldn’t happen to the Lakers” crap he spouts ignores the realities of today’s NBA — he praised the hiring of Mike Brown at the time now slams ownership for it. Magic, talk about the Dodgers and stop talking about the Lakers.

• So your team is going to have a lot of cap space in the next couple years and that is how you are going to rebuild? Historically, that doesn’t work as well as you think.

Some researchers are trying to quantify “team chemistry.”

• Sometimes when Timberwolves big man Nikola Pekovic works out he cries like a little baby.

• The Raptors are not really talking extension with coach Dwane Casey.

How the Dallas Mavericks are making it all work.

Milwaukee’s GM does a Q&A about the worst team in the NBA this season. His team, for the record.

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle thinks Dirk Nowitzki should be an All-Star. Stunning.

• I’ve said it before in his space but I’ll say it again — if you love the NBA you should be listening to SiriusXM NBA Radio (channel 217). Another reason to do it: Portland Trail Blazers rookie guard CJ McCollum has a new show on the network. “Year One with CJ McCollum” airs every Thursday (6:00-7:00pm ET/3:00-4:00 pm PT).

“I am really excited about the opportunity to host my own radio show on SiriusXM NBA Radio and chronicle my journey as a rookie,” said McCollum in a released statement. “I’ll share my own stories and interview other NBA players as we cover everything from travel, teammates, diet, practices, and games as well as what I do when I am not playing. This lifestyle is very different from life at Lehigh as a college student but I’m finding my way.”

• Shawne Williams has signed with the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the D-League.

• You may not remember former NBA player Zoran Planinic but he hit as amazing a game winner as you are going to see for Anadolu Efes in Istanbul to give them the win over Emporio Armani Milano.

Blazers’ Nicolas Batum suffers concussion, out for a bit


The basketball gods continue to torment Portland, for reasons unknown.

Reports surfaced Tuesday afternoon that Portland’s Nicolas Batum had left practice after a hard fall — he had gone up for a dunk that was contested by Will Barton and ended up hitting the deck. However, it can be hard to read too much into that during the preseason as teams are cautious right now.

However the team announced later in the day that Batum suffered a concussion and would be out Wednesday against Phoenix for sure.

This means Batum has to go through the league’s concussion protocol, where he has to pass some neurological tests and get both the approval of a team doctor and an okay from a league-appointed doctor. It could be days, it could be weeks, nobody knows.

This latest injury seems to fit with the theme of the Blazers training camp, notes Chris Haynes at

LaMarcus Aldridge sustained a quad injury, Mo Williams sprained his ankle, Will Barton received a concussion, Dorell Wright dislocated his right middle finger, Earl Watson suffered a calf contusion and the worst one of them all, CJ McCollum broke his left foot.

It’s been hard times.

Hopefully for the Blazers that changes when the season begins, because they don’t have much of a lot of margin for error in a deep West if they plan to make the postseason.

Blazers rookie C.J. McCollum breaks foot in practice, out indefinitely


The Portland Trail Blazers aren’t exactly the luckiest franchise when it comes to injuries suffered by its rookie players. That unfortunate tradition continued, with the team’s PR staff announcing on Saturday that C.J. McCollum will be out indefinitely after suffering a broken bone in his left foot that will require surgery.

From Erik Gundersen of The Columbian:

Terry Stotts initially told the media following practice Saturday that CJ McCollum had sprained his foot and left practice early.

However, the Trail Blazers public relations department later announced via twitter around 4:30 this afternoon that McCollum sustained a fracture of the 5th metatarsal bone. The Trail Blazers announce that a date has not been announced for surgery. This is the same left foot and same bone that McCollum broke during his senior season at Lehigh which also required surgery.

The Trail Blazers added that a prognosis will not be made until after the surgery is done.

McCollum was selected by the Blazers with the 10th overall pick in this summer’s NBA draft. He’s perhaps best known for scoring 30 points while leading his 15th seeded Lehigh team to an historic upset of the No. 2 seeded Duke Blue Devils in the 2012 NCAA Basketball Tournament.