Phoenix Suns superstar Kevin Durant sustained an out-of-the-blue injury in his pregame workout prior to the Suns’ matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night, sparking fears that the rest of his regular season could be in jeopardy.
Greg Moore of The Arizona Republic gives the rundown of what transpired:
“Durant returned on March 1 from a knee injury suffered in early January that caused him to miss 20 games,” Moore said.
“The ankle injury on Wednesday occurred when Durant was driving to the basket in a routine pregame workout. He rolled his left ankle and fell to the floor before getting up and finishing his workout.”
Per Moore, Durant left the Footprint Center in Oklahoma City in a walking boot, causing him to miss their 132-101 victory over the Thunder. In three games with the Suns, Durant has averaged 26.7 points per game on a remarkable 69 percent shooting from the floor while attempting a mere 14 shots per contest.
The Suns are 3-0 with Durant. The 2023 NBA All-Star starter — sidelined from the festivities due to injury — has adjusted carefully to his new teammates, making sure not to step on any toes. Former franchise player Devin Booker has scored 35 or more points consistently alongside Durant, taking at least 23 shots and shooting 50 percent or better in each game.
On the season, Durant is scratching at the door of the second 50-40-90 year of his career. He currently boasts averages of 29.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game on 56.6 percent shooting from the floor, 38.6 percent shooting from three-point range, and a staggering 93.1 percent shooting from the free throw line.
Durant’s lower extremities have not been kind to him over the course of his career. After playing 74 or more games in six of his first seven seasons (66 GP in 2012 due to the NBA Lockout), Durant missed 55 games in the 2014-15 season due to a Jones fracture.
In 2016-17, an MCL sprain costed the former MVP 20 games. In the 2019 NBA playoffs, Durant suffered a calf injury. Upon return, he tore his achilles tendon in game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals in controversial fashion, sidelining him for the entirety of the 2019-20 season.
His tenure in Brooklyn saw nothing but inconsistent playing time. He missed time down the stretch with a hamstring injury, affording him 35 games played in 2020-21, and followed that up with an unfortunate MCL sprain — the second of his career — in 2021-22, stripping him of 17 games.
Durant’s impact on the success of a franchise goes without saying. The Suns gave up a hoard of talent and assets for the superstar forward in hopes of capturing a championship at the end of the season. Durant’s health will determine how far they can go in the postseason.