Kevin Durant Explains Season-Ending Injury, Remains Confident.


Last February, Kevin Durant was struggling to even make it through a complete basketball game. By the time the fourth quarter came around, he was hampered with a very noticeable limp.

Following the game, general manager Sam Presti assured everyone that Durant was not at risk.

But Thunder fans have recently learned that Durant was most certainly at risk. At last week’s training camp for the USA Basketball Men’s National Team, Durant revealed that he re-broke his fifth metatarsal. Alex Roig, the founder of, broke the news last March, but nobody from the Thunder confirmed it.

That is, not until Durant did so last week to Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding when he said, “It had a crack in it.”

Durant also detailed the extensive measures taken in his last foot surgery to give him the greatest chance of avoiding another break going forward. He used a bone graft procedure, which isn’t FDA approved, because it promotes greater bone growth. The surgery has a longer recovery time to protect against overgrowth of bone.

"“They stuffed some bone-graft thing in, and they pasted over the top of the area. That healed up in a couple of weeks. But then they stuck something else in there just to smooth it out and make sure it was thick. They did a lot.”"

According to Ding, Robert Klapper, a Los Angeles orthopedic surgeon who was not involved in Durant’s case, compared the third surgery to putting a belt on with suspenders. Klapper also said that after a year of healing, the fifth metatarsal in his foot should have greater integrity than ever:

"“There is no reason why Kevin Durant should not be like the Lopez twins (Brook and Robin), Pau Gasol, Michael Jordan and many other folks who’ve had metatarsal fractures and gone back and played and never had a problem again. The data supports that he should come back stronger and should never have a problem with this again.”"

Durant and the Thunder opted for a bone graft even though it had the longest recovery time because it gave Durant the best chance to make a full recovery.

Now, Durant is cleared to play but, while he looks to be at full strength, the bone isn’t completely healed. It’s simply strong enough to the point where it shouldn’t break again but the bone will continue to heal slowly for a year.

Durant already had an unexpected setback after his first surgery when a screw head was irritating the cuboid bone in his foot.

With the uncertainty of Durant’s foot, I wrote that new head coach Billy Donovan would have to reduce his minutes this season. But, one thing I hadn’t considered is Durant’s role in taking it easy. Donovan can monitor Durant in games, but it will be up to Durant, who can be found playing basketball anywhere there’s a ball and a hoop, to scale back on his workouts. As he explained to Ding:

"“I can’t do too much no more. I love putting in work; I love being out on the court. But early on, I have to ease back into that part of it—two-a-days or working out after practice or working out when I land in a city or whatever I used to do. I’ve got to ease into it, and as time goes on, just get back into my routine.”"

For somebody who’s been through what Durant has with his right foot, nobody would blame him if he were a bit hesitant to get back on the court to resume basketball activity. For a lot of players, the mental recovery after an injury is more difficult than physically healing. His return to USA minicamp was a big step in that direction, because it reminded the rest of the league, and most importantly, himself, that he’s all the way back.

Durant made his first public appearance on the basketball court last week for team USA and participated in practice sessions last Tuesday and Wednesday. There were plenty of videos that surfaced of Durant doing on court work, which was by far the most positive part of the offseason so far for Thunder fans.

Durant looks like his old self, and his confidence is as high as ever. He said he and Westbrook are the best 1-2 punch in the NBA, and that he’s the best player in the world. As he recently explained to CSN Chicago’s Vincent Goodwill, “No disrespect to anyone else, but I feel like I’m the best player in the world.”

Despite re-breaking his foot, which is very rare following his original surgery, Durant has overcome the mental aspect following an injury. As his foot heals each day, the optimism will continue to grow in Oklahoma City.

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