Kevin Durant will miss the rest of the year and require a bone graft due to a regression of the Jones fracture he suffered prior to the season, the Thunder announced Friday.
“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.”
While Durant was initially progressing well in his rehab, after two consultations, it was determined that the Jones fracture, which kept Durant out at the beginning of the year, had regressed.
This seemed inevitable, given the trajectory of Durant’s season, but it doesn’t make the news any easier to bear. It’s simply devastating for the Durant, the Thunder and the NBA as a whole. Durant’s MVP campaign last year was brilliant, and there was no reason to think he couldn’t follow it up with another MVP. Unfortunately, he now joins Michael Jordan, Derrick Rose and Bill Walton on the list of players to miss significant time a season after winning MVP.
If there is a tiny silver lining to be found in this news, it’s one of certainty. Rather than march into the playoffs wondering if Durant will return, the Thunder now know for certain he isn’t coming back. Their team, as it were, is on the floor. It’s a small solace, and not a very comforting one, but at least it’s something.
Durant played in just 27 games this season, averaging 25 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. The 25 points is his lowest average since is sophomore season, but he’s still got the highest net rating on the team, per NBA.com. The Thunder score 3.5 points more per 100 possessions and give up 3.9 points fewer when KD is on the court. He’s the 2014 MVP and now the Thunder have to see if they’ll even make the playoffs.
It’s a sad day for Thunder fans, doubly so because next season will be the last of the five-year extension he signed in 2010. Even with the threat KD bolts in free agency this summer, Sam Presti has said he will not deal KD next season.
At least Thunder fans have Russell Westbrook playing out of his mind.