Kevin Durant to Play vs. Russell Westbrook, Thunder with Ankle Injury

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2017

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 18:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder point in different directions after the ball went out of bounds at ORACLE Arena on January 18, 2017 in Oakland, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Golden State Warriors superstar Kevin Durant will play against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic. He had made his intentions clear earlier in the day, per Chris Haynes of ESPN.com.

"I feel good right now," he said. "I plan on playing."

The Warriors star sat out Sunday's win over the Brooklyn Nets after he sprained his left ankle in a 124-116 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.

Wednesday's tilt will be Durant's second game in Oklahoma City after he signed with the Warriors in the summer of 2016. Durant, who was with the Thunder for the first eight seasons of the organization's time in Oklahoma City, went off for 34 points in his return to the city during Golden State's 130-114 win last February.

Durant sat out the team's 111-95 win in Oklahoma City last March with a knee injury.

Durant did not receive a friendly reception from the Oklahoma City faithful last January. According to the Associated Press, "The crowd jeered him loudly during pregame warm-ups, starter introductions and whenever he touched the ball."

Per Haynes, Thunder fans regularly called Durant a "cupcake" throughout the evening, a reference to a nickname former OKC center Kendrick Perkins gave to players he thought were playing or acting soft. Russell Westbrook famously posted a picture of cupcakes to Instagram on the Fourth of July in 2016—the day Durant announced he would sign with the Warriors. 

Oklahoma City's players—namely Westbrook—didn't seem to take kindly to Durant either. As the AP reported at the time, "Emotions ran high throughout the game. At one point in the third quarter, Durant and Westbrook yelled at each other as they walked toward their benches during a timeout."

Andre Roberson and Durant were also given technicals after a physical foul from Roberson caused them to get in each other's face. 

Despite the history between Durant and the Thunder, however, he said he was treating Wednesday's rematch like any other contest.

"It's just a regular game for me now," he said, per Haynes. "I learned how to tune out the crowd, I learned how to tune out the bulls--t."

Perhaps. But it's hard to imagine Durant has forgotten about his previous reception in OKC. He released his Nike "KDX Red Velvet" shoes in August with a picture of the sneakers surrounded by cupcakes. Durant also insulted his former teammates and Thunder head coach Billy Donovan from his Twitter account in the third person, leading many to believe Durant often posted on social media using burner accounts.

Suffice to say, it would appear the situation is still fraught with tension.