It’s no surprise that Kevin Durant is fully healthy. Considering the foot troubles that essentially rendered his 2014-15 a complete waste, though, that news is still wildly encouraging for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
According to Royce Young of ESPN, Thunder general manager Sam Presti says the reigning MVP is playing “without restriction” as training camp rapidly approaches.
Durant underwent bone graft surgery on the fifth metatarsal of his fragile right foot late last March. Oklahoma City originally forecasted a timeline for full recovery at four to six months – the latter most number of which marks the end of September. The Thunder open training camp on September 28.
This is an absolutely crucial year for both Durant and his team. Oklahoma City fired long-time coach Scott Brooks last spring, subsequently appointing former University of Florida coach Billy Donovan – who’s spent no time roaming the NBA sidelines – his replacement. Despite their new coach’s inexperience on the professional level, injuries are the only thing that seem likely to keep the Thunder from reclaiming a spot near the top of the Western Conference pecking order.
And considering that Durant will hit the free agent market for the first time in his career next summer, it’s absolutely pertinent that Oklahoma City makes good on its über-talented roster. Though the 26-year-old said he’d “love” to have his jersey retired with the Thunder, other teams will come calling in July – including his hometown Washington Wizards. If Oklahoma City underachieves, could Durant take his talents back to where they were originally forged? It seems a possibility at the very least.
But that’s thinking too far ahead for the Thunder. At present, all Oklahoma City needs to worry about is preparing for the most important season in its young history. And fortunately, a fully healthy Durant is ready to help his team do just that.
[Via Royce Young]