Kevin Durant is ready to prove he’s still one of the best.
Eight months since he last played in an official NBA game, the former most valuable player is ready to put the struggles behind and get back into action.
Going through a grueling process after sustaining a broken bone on his right foot, Durant’s time away from the court seemed longer than it actually was.
”It seems like years ago,” said Durant in an interview Wednesday after the Thunder’s morning shootaround. ”I’m here now. Try not to think about the past. I know I learned a lot from that situation and just trying to move forward and continue to have confidence in myself.”
The long wait finally ended for one of the NBA’s biggest stars. The 27-year-old Oklahoma City centerpiece took the court Wednesday night when the Thunder had its first preseason game in Minnesota. He was sidelined for 55 games last season and had three surgeries to repair a fracture in his foot, an injury partly blamed for the team missing out on a ride to the playoffs for the first time in five years.
Due to the delicate nature of Durant’s injury, he spent the whole summer easing his way back.
He didn’t participate in practice until the Thunder opened training camp last September 29, and has so far not complained of any problems with his foot during workouts.
”He’s been really good,” according to new Thunder head coach Billy Donovan. ”I think he’s been getting back his rhythm, so to speak, scoring the ball. He’s had some incredible flashes.”
The former NBA scoring champion last saw action in an NBA game on February 19 versus the Dallas Mavericks. He missed the final 28 games of the season, and it was tough for him seeing his teammates struggle from the sidelines.
Donovan said his star player would play 18-22 minutes as he slowly makes his way back in.
”Since the first day of camp I’ve been trying to grind out with my teammates and tried not to think about me being injured,” Durant said.
”I just wanted to pick up where I left off. But I haven’t played an NBA game in a long time, just like these guys haven’t played in a long time, either. So I kind of look at it like that and try not to put too much pressure on myself.”