Kevin Durant to have foot surgery

ByRoyce Young ESPN logo
Saturday, March 28, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Kevin Durant will have bone graft surgery on his ailing right foot and will miss the remainder of the season, Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti announced Friday.

Durant will have the procedure early next week and is expected to return to basketball activities in the next four to six months.

The news comes a week after Presti announced that Durant had been "removed from basketball activities" and insinuated he could be shut down.

"With the focus of this process being aimed entirely on Kevin's long-term health and stability, it was the consensus of the specialists team, in addition to a collective decision by Kevin, his representation and the Thunder, that to address the setback of the fracture site, a bone graft procedure would be the most proactive and recommended approach," Presti said in a statement. "The bone graft is the standard procedure for the five to eight percent of Jones fracture surgeries that do not initially have success or experience setbacks sometime within the recovery period."

Historically, the Jones fracture has never limited or altered a player's ability to return to play. The bone graft is the next step in resolving the injury for the rare cases that don't experience a full recovery with an inserted screw (92 to 95 percent of initial Jones fracture surgeries are successful).

"While everyone is disappointed that Kevin falls into that group, we are encouraged that the bone graft procedure has historically demonstrated long-term health and stability," Presti said.

The Thunder and Durant worked in collaboration with three of the top foot and ankle physicians in the world: Dr. Martin O'Malley, Dr. James Nunley and Dr. Bob Anderson. O'Malley will perform the bone graft surgery in New York.

Durant underwent surgery Feb. 23 to attempt to alleviate soreness and discomfort in his right foot that was being caused by a screw inserted in October during a procedure to repair the Jones fracture. After the second procedure, Durant was re-evaluated after a week, then re-evaluated again after another week, at which point coach Scott Brooks updated the player's timetable to a "week or two."

Durant had intensified his on-court workouts before being removed from basketball activities last week, even returning to participate in parts of practice, including some 3-on-3. But the soreness that plagued him before the All-Star break and pushed him toward the second surgery was not resolved, because Durant is one of the unique cases in which the screw didn't agree properly with the fracture.

Presti said the fracture was healing "excellently" after the second surgery, but given the persistent soreness, the team removed Durant from basketball activities. More evaluation showed signs of regression with the fracture, which led to the decision to take the next step with a bone graft.

The reigning league MVP, Durant averaged 25.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 27 games this season.

News of his surgery quickly spread throughout the league Friday, with many players, including Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat and Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers, weighing in via social media.

Added Cleveland's LeBron James said of his U.S. Olympic teammate: "It's a blow for him and for our league. We're a brotherhood and you never want anyone to go down, especially of that stature. He means a lot to our game and obviously means a lot to the OKC family, and you just wish him well and hopefully for a speedy recovery."

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