Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant has bounced back in a big way from a foot injury that cost him most of the 2015-16 season, but the former MVP admitted he was uncertain he'd be able to return to elite status.
According to Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated, the seven-time All Star wasn't sure what the future held for him, but he used that as motivation: "I was scared, I was worried. Will I be back again? Will I be who I am? A year ago people were telling me my career might be over and I listened to that stuff, not because I'm sensitive but because I used it for fuel. I've always done that."
Durant missed all but 27 games last season following bone graft surgery on his right foot, but he averaged 28.2 points per game in 72 regular-season contests in 2015-16.
The 27-year-old former No. 2 overall pick also has the Thunder within two wins of reaching the NBA Finals for the first time since 2012.
OKC holds a 2-1 series lead over the Golden State Warriors, and Durant has been a driving force behind the Thunder's playoff success with 27.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.
He is set to become an unrestricted free agent during the offseason, which figures to set off the biggest frenzy since LeBron James' initial foray onto the open market.
Another injury-plagued season could have adversely impacted Durant's value, but his resurgent campaign has him in line for a massive contract and will undoubtedly make him the most highly sought-after free agent available.
His value will continue to grow if he and the Thunder manage to knock off the Dubs and perhaps even win the franchise's first championship since moving to Oklahoma City.
Injuries have derailed the careers of elite players in the past, such as Chicago Bulls guard and former MVP Derrick Rose, but Durant is currently as good as he's ever been, which is a massive coup for the Thunder as they chase a title.
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