After missing six games with an ankle injury suffered December 18, Kevin Durant went through full practice this week and is likely to make his return Wednesday night against the Phoenix Suns.
Durant sprained his ankle at the end of a 30-point first half at Golden State.
Under the lead of point guard Russell Westbrook, OKC has gone 3-3 during Durant’s absence. The Thunder are 15-17 on the season but a recent hot streak by the Suns has put them three games behind the eighth spot in the Western conference.
Durant has watched games from the sideline more this season than his entire career after suffering a broken right foot back in October causing him to miss the Thunder’s first 17 games.
In the nine games the reigning MVP has played this season he’s averaged 22.4 points per game, below what fans are used to seeing from him, 3.6 assists and 5.0 rebounds. The Thunder went 7-2 during that stretch.
Early season injuries to Westbrook and Durant left OKC in a big 3-12 hole to start the season. Despite getting close to .500 on a couple different occasions they have not been able to get over the hump. If recent history is any indication, OKC will need to finish above .500 to make playoffs even as the eighth seed.
However, the slow start by the reigning champion San Antonio Spurs and the inconsistency of Phoenix gives OKC hope. When healthy the Thunder have proven they can make up a lot of ground in a quick amount of time.
With over half the season left to be played, the Thunder are still within arms reach of grabbing the seventh or eighth seed but can ill afford any more major injuries. Tip off in Oklahoma City will be at 8 p.m. EST.