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2013-14 NBA MVP Kevin Durant of the Oklahama City Thunder will miss at least the first four weeks of the upcoming NBA season after he suffered a “Jones fracture” during team practice on Oct. 11.
According to ESPN’s Royce Young, the 2013-14 NBA MVP has a ‘Jones fracture’ — “a broken bone at the base of the small toe”:
“Kevin Durant has a fracture in his right foot and will likely miss at least the first month of the season, the Oklahoma City Thunder announced Sunday.
“The team says Durant has a ‘Jones fracture,’ a broken bone at the base of the small toe.
“Thunder general manager Sam Presti said no specific incident caused the injury, but that it happened over time. Durant has not been given an official timetable, but will likely miss 6 to 8 weeks based on the typical recovery time for an injury of this nature.
“‘From what I’ve been told, a Jones fracture is the most common surgical procedure performed on NBA players as of late,’ Presti said. ‘It has happened enough so that there is enough of a body of work to look at an average recovery time.’
“Durant will undergo further evaluation and consultation over the next few days and determine then if surgery is necessary, although it appears likely.
“‘We’re heading in that direction,’ Presti said.
“Following practice on Saturday, Durant informed the Thunder medical staff he was experiencing an ‘aching’ in his right foot. Durant participated in both the Thunder’s preseason games thus far, playing a total of just 30 minutes.
“‘We’re really fortunate that we’re catching it when we’re catching it,’ Presti said. ‘We are very fortunate that Kevin notified us yesterday and we’re kind of catching it on the front end before this became more of an acute issue.’
“Most recently, Durant played 18 minutes against the (Dallas) Mavericks on Friday, though Presti said there’s no specific play to point to for when the injury occurred.
“‘Because it’s a stress injury, it happened over time,’ Presti said. ‘The fact that Kevin mentioned it when he did is a real fortunate piece of this because if he continued to play on it, it would continue to get worse. So that it was identified when it was idenfitied, and that the pain, or achiness, was enough to mention it, is a positive.’
“Durant, the reigning league MVP who averaged 32 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists in 81 games last season, has played the most minutes in the league since 2007 (20,717). Because of the wear and tear, Durant decided to withdraw his name from USA Basketball this summer for the World Cup in Spain, citing need for rest both physically and mentally.
“About to enter his eighth season, Durant has only missed a total of 16 games.
“‘Coming into this season having not played USA Basketball, reflecting on that decision now, I think clearly, probably helped him a great deal, just the amount of stress he was able to avoid at that point in time,’ Presti said. ‘I think that brought him back in to camp in a good spot.'”
Presti also told Nick Gallo of the team’s official website on Oct. 12 that he is confident the Thunder will be just fine without Durant:
“One thing that is assured, however, is that general manager Sam Presti is confident that the organization, players, coaches and staff will respond admirably to the challenge of playing without the reigning NBA MVP.
“‘In these cases, you can eitehr withdraw or advance,’ Presti said emphatically. ‘We’re going to advance.’
“During the rest of training camp and into the season, the Thunder will assess the ways in which it can gain from this bout of adversity, as players, coaches and staff will have to rise to the occasion. The goal for the Thunder is to enhance its style of play by being sharp on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
“With head coach Scott Brooks at the helm and leaders like Russell Westbrook and Nick Collison in the fold, the organization is prepared to deal with this unexpected situation. In the past, the team has found ways to improve as a unit after injuries to core players. If the team can get into a rhythm of playing at a high level and continue to evolve on both ends of the floor, re-gaining Durant at some point during the season will pay even larger dividends.
“‘Our team and organization have been in situations similar to this in the past,’ Presti said. ‘This is when we’re at our best. One of the things that we traditionally try to do is, within every adversity, we’re always looking for where the opportunity is.’
“‘Our job is to identify the opportunity, to figure out how we improve upon it, how we seize it and how we execute on it, so that when Kevin does return, that we’re a better team for it,’ Presti continued. ‘I have a lot of confidence that we’re going to do that. I have a lot of confidence in the team at large. I have a lot of confidence in the team at large but also in the mentality that has been built here.'”