As the Oklahoma City Thunder try to make their move up the Western Conference standings prior to the postseason, they will have to do so without small forward Kevin Durant for the remainder of the campaign.
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Thunder Announce Durant Out for Season
Friday, March 27
The Thunder announced that Durant's ailing foot will prevent him from playing again this year, as he will need another operation, per Thunder executive vice president and general manager Sam Presti:
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.
Dr. [Martin] 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.
The reigning MVP began this season on the shelf thanks to October surgery that repaired a fracture in his right foot. His 2014-15 debut came on Dec. 2, but he was only able to play nine games before needing to shut it down for six contests.
He has not played since Feb. 21 due to another small procedure meant to relieve soreness in his right foot.
"Kevin Durant's season officially over. Go ahead and start the clock on 2016 NBA free agency. This will rival's LeBron's decision, for sure," noted Jason McIntyre of TheBigLead.com in the wake of the announcement.
Even though there is never a good time to lose a player of Durant's ability, it's especially painful now as the Thunder have built a three-game cushion over the Phoenix Suns for the Western Conference's eighth seed.
The long-term prognosis for Durant now becomes a huge point of emphasis. Oklahoma City has been fighting an uphill battle all year, and it will continue throughout the summer as the superstar recovers.