The Phoenix Suns were hoping for a strong regular-season finish after they traded for Kevin Durant in a blockbuster deadline-day deal. However, those hopes were dealt a major blow when Durant sprained his left ankle while warming up for the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.
Still Waiting for his Home Debut
Durant has played only three games for the Suns, all away, this season. The Phoenix team confirmed the player would be out at least until April, saying they would re-evaluate his injury in three weeks’ time.
That means that even in the best-case scenario, the Suns will be without the talismanic power forward for most of the remainder of the regular season. If Durant comes back immediately after he is evaluated, and that’s not a given, he will play only five regular-season games before the playoff matches begin.
It also means that fans at the Footprint Center will have to wait for at least three more weeks before they can see their blockbuster acquisition in the flesh. The Oklahoma City game was supposed to be Durant’s debut in front of the Suns’ fans.
The Latest of Several Serious Injuries
Durant injured his left ankle while driving to the basket and attempting a jump. At first, he didn’t make much of it and continued warming up. However, a few minutes later, he stopped his pregame drills and the Suns said he wouldn’t play against the Thunder.
Even though the Suns won 132-101 thanks to a Devin Booker 44-point masterclass, playing without Durant will hurt them. They have arguably the most talented starting five in the NBA, which in addition to Durant and Booker includes Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton. However, Durant’s absence will be felt for sure.
More worryingly for the Suns, this injury might be a sign of things to come. Durant is very susceptible to injuries. He missed the full 2019-20 season because of an Achilles injury and was sidelined with a sprained ligament in his knee this season too.
Suns coach Monty Williams said after the Thunder game that Durant was “working his tail off” to get ready for the game, so it was frustrating he twisted his ankle. The coach said that he felt bad for Durant, but that the player shouldn’t dwell on it and move on.