Thunder’s Durant still out; Westbrook could return Wednesday
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Kevin Durant will be out at least another week for the Oklahoma City Thunder, but Russell Westbrook could return Wednesday against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks made the announcements Tuesday at practice.
Durant had surgery on Feb. 22 to replace a screw from an operation for a broken bone in his right foot in October. Brooks said Durant is “trending well,” and will be re-evaluated soon.
Westbrook, the All-Star MVP, was hurt in the final seconds of the Thunder’s 115-112 loss Friday night in Portland when the knee of teammate Andre Roberson hit Westbrook’s face. Westbrook had surgery on Saturday.
Westbrook wore a mask during Tuesday’s practice, and he’ll wear one when he returns, Brooks said.
Durant played in just 27 games this season because of a broken foot, sprained right ankle and sprained left big toe. He’s been dominant when on the court, averaging 25.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists while shooting 51 percent from the field.
Durant said after the game against Dallas on Feb. 19 that his foot was sore and he’d need to get it checked out. General manager Sam Presti said it’s normal to have some discomfort after the surgery, but it was supposed to dissipate as the bone healed. Instead, the pain increased.
The team tried to manage the soreness, then checked with his original surgeon and got a second opinion. The Thunder originally said after the surgery that Durant would be re-evaluated in a week. Now nine days after surgery, Brooks said another week or so will be needed.
The Thunder have won four of six without Durant to remain in eighth in the Western Conference standings. Westbrook has averaged 30.6 points, 10.6 rebounds and 11.8 assists in the five games he’s played since Durant’s latest setback, but he missed Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers after taking the hit from his teammate.
Brooks said he will see how Westbrook feels on Wednesday before making a decision on his status for the Philadelphia game.
Starting center Steven Adams practiced Tuesday with a soft brace on his broken hand, and Brooks said he is day-to-day.
He’s been out since breaking a bone in his right hand just before the All-Star break. In 50 games this season, all starts, he is averaging 7.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks.