Durant returns tonight
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant will return tonight in New Orleans against the Pelicans after missing every game so far this season with a broken bone in his right foot, a Thunder team spokesman said.
Durant played in two preseason games before complaining of an ache in his foot after a practice. He had surgery on October 16, and the team said it would be re-evaluate the foot in six weeks.
Nearly seven weeks later, he will return to a team that entered the day eight games behind Portland in the Northwest Division – and just a half-game out of the cellar.
It was the first extended absence of Durant’s career. From his rookie season in 2007 to the start of this season, he led the league in points and minutes played. He had missed just 16 regular season games in his seven-year career, and never more than eight in a season.
His longest previous absence was a seven-game stretch during the 2008-09 season because of a sprained right ankle. He missed one game last season, one game the season before, played in all 82 games during the 2009-10 season and all 66 games during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season.
Last season, Durant won his fourth scoring title in five years after averaging 32 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists. He had a run of 41 consecutive games with at least 25 points, the third-longest streak in NBA history.
He was at his best while star point guard Russell Westbrook was out following knee surgery from December through the All-Star break. Durant averaged 35 points and 6.3 assists as he led the team to 19 wins in 26 games.
Durant skipped playing for the United States national team in this summer’s World Cup so he could get additional rest.