Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant, the NBA's reigning Most Valuable Player, will play against the New Orleans Pelicans tonight after being out more than six weeks with a broken toe.
“I'm excited to be back out there with my teammates,” he said. “It's been 6 ½ weeks. I'm just trying to get better. I'm looking forward to playing tonight. It's a little different for me being out six weeks and then going out there playing at the highest level of basketball. I'm looking forward to going out there and seeing where I am.”
Durant was sidelined after having surgery to repair a Jones fracture of his right little toe, which is at the base of the toe. He returns to play for the first time this season just one game after All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook returned after missing one month with a broken right index finger.
Playing without its two stars, Oklahoma City is 5-12. However, they have won their past two games.
Coach Scott Brooks said Durant will be on a playing restriction for now.
“I'll keep him around 30 minutes, give or take,” Brooks said. “He's had seven to 10 days of some good practices with us. A lot of contact in parts of the practices he participated in.
“He's excited to be back, the guys are excited. But we want to continue to focus on the work at hand and continue to build what we've done and focus on the task game by game, day by day.”