Kevin Durant To Make Season Debut For Thunder After 17-Game Absence


NEW ORLEANS — Reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant is ready to return from a foot injury and will be in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s lineup for Tuesday night’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks announced the update at the team’s shootaround early Tuesday afternoon.

Durant, who averaged 32 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists last season, has missed his team’s first 17 games with a fractured right foot, which was surgically repaired in mid-October.

“I’m just excited to get back out there with my teammates. It’s been a long six-and-a-half weeks just trying to get better and get my foot right,” Durant said following the Thunder’s game-day shootaround. “I know it’s going to be a little different for me not playing for six weeks and then going out there and playing at the highest level of basketball. So I’m looking forward to going out there and seeing where I am and playing as hard as I can for my team.”

Brooks said Durant is now “100 percent ready” to play on his right foot, but that he’ll likely be limited to around 30 minutes of action during his first few games to rebuild his conditioning.

“He’s hit all the benchmarks that we’ve had in place during this process and the next step is to play games,” Brooks said.

“We could be in some situations if we go into overtime, or double- or triple-overtime that he won’t be there because you can’t predict that that’s going to happen,” Brooks added, “Those are things we have to live with and we’re willing to live with those.”

Durant’s return comes one game after star guard Russell Westbrook came back from a broken bone in right hand to help the Thunder win in New York last Friday night.

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