HANG TIME BIG CITY — If the Oklahoma City Thunder are going to make a run in the NBA playoffs — not to mention even making the playoffs — they’re going to have to do it without Kevin Durant.
The Thunder on Friday announced that Durant was done for the season, as he will undergo a third surgery to his right foot, where he suffered a Jones fracture that led to the first surgery before the season began.
According to a release from Thunder VP and GM Sam Presti:
“As we communicated last week, Kevin was going to use this time to engage in consultation and evaluation regarding the persistent soreness in his right foot at this stage of his rehabilitation. As part of this process, Kevin and Thunder personnel traveled to two additional specialists this past week; Dr. Martin O’Malley in New York City and Dr. James Nunley at Duke University. These in-person consults were designed to further supplement the previous evaluations of Dr. Bob Anderson. Several conference calls and discussions amongst the specialist team concluded that, while the majority of the soreness in Kevin’s foot was related to continued inflammation of the cuboid bone and would subside with rest, the evaluation process also determined that the Jones fracture of the fifth metatarsal, which had shown significant healing previously, was now demonstrating signs of regression.
With the focus of this process being aimed entirely on Kevin’s long term health and stability, it was the consensus of the specialists team, in addition to a collective decision by Kevin, his representation and the Thunder, that to address the setback of the fracture site, a bone graft procedure would be the most proactive and recommended approach. The bone graft is the standard procedure for the five to eight percent of Jones fracture surgeries that do not initially have success or experience setbacks sometime within the recovery period. While everyone is disappointed that Kevin falls into that group, we are encouraged that the bone graft procedure has historically demonstrated long-term health and stability.
Dr. O’Malley will perform the bone graft surgery early next week in New York. He has extensive bone grafting experience amongst athletes and has been consulting on the case throughout. Kevin will miss the remainder of the 2014-15 season and is expected to return to basketball activities in the next four to six months.”
Durant won the NBA MVP award last season after averaging a career-high 32 points. After surgery in the offseason to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot, Durant missed the first 17 games of this season. He returned in December and played well enough to earn an All-Star nod, but began underwent another surgery at the end of February intended to relieve some pain and discomfort in the foot.
There was still hope that Durant could rejoin the Thunder in time for the postseason, though one week ago Presti said Durant would be “removed from basketball activities” until he was able to return to the floor “without soreness.”
The Thunder are also without Serge Ibaka, who recently had a knee procedure. Russell Westbrook missed 14 games earlier this season after surgery to repair a hand injury.
Despite the terrible luck with their injured superstars, The Thunder are currently 41-31 and hold a three-game lead in the loss column over the Phoenix Suns for the Western Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot.