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.