OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Kevin Durant is all the way back.
The 2013-14 NBA MVP and scoring champion played just 27 games for the Thunder last season because of a broken bone in his right foot. Thunder general manager Sam Presti announced Wednesday that, after three procedures, Durant is ready to go. Training camp begins next week.
“He’s been playing without restriction, five on five, competing as normal,” Presti said.
Durant had surgery in October and returned to play in December with some pain. A screw rubbing against another bone was removed this February. After more pain, Durant consulted with three foot and ankle specialists and had a bone graft in March.
Presti said Durant’s attitude during the process has been impressive.
“It’s great to have him back on the floor,” Presti said. “I’m happy for him because he’s been so committed and so disciplined.”
Presti said the staff will keep a watchful eye on Durant as he takes on more activity.
“With any of our players that are coming off injuries, we’re going to be watching, managing practice, recovery time,” Presti said. “In terms of limitations, he doesn’t have any. He looks great.”
Durant averaged 25.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists last season. Without his full-time services, the Thunder struggled and missed the playoffs despite Russell Westbrook’s excellent play. Durant’s minutes will likely be limited in the preseason, but Presti noted that’s the case every year.
Durant averaged a career-low 33.8 minutes per game last season as he fought through the injury. Presti wouldn’t say for sure if the number would creep back up toward the 38.2 minutes he averaged in his career before last season.
“Average minutes — that’s probably going to be the most important thing,” Presti said. “Are there going to be games that he plays more than the average last year? Probably. You also have to factor in where you want be at a certain point and where the schedule is and where there are opportunities to take some time.”