The Oklahoma City Thunder are now the 8th seed in the Western Conference. They have won five in a row and are 7-3 in their last 10 games. They have played great when Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant take the floor together. However Kevin Durant had a second procedure on his foot and will be re-evaluated in 1 week.
Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti said, “Kevin has experienced increased soreness in his right foot recently and as a result we initiated a process to determine the best way to manage it moving forward…[T]here was an opportunity to address irritation from the screw, and make an adjustment to a different piece of hardware within the foot to relieve the symptoms of his soreness.”
With all the trades that happened at the deadline, the Thunder got stronger as the Phoenix Suns got weaker. Phoenix has dropped four in a row and traded away Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas. The Pelicans are all banged up; Anthony Davis aggravated his nagging shoulder injury and is expected to be out two weeks and Ryan Anderson sprained his right MCL and he is expected to be out 2-4 weeks.
The Thunder were ready to take charge and maybe even move up in the Western Conference. Now Durant will miss important road games against the Suns and Blazers at the end of February. Russell Westbrook has been playing out of his mind recently.
In two games after the All-Star game he has put up 30+ points and 10 assists in both games. Before the break he scored a career high 45 points against the Pelicans and then two days later he scored a new career high 48 points against the Pelicans.
Westbrook is great and the new additions will help the Thunder going forward but they need Kevin Durant if they really want to make some noise in the Western Conference. Dion Waiters should get plenty of opportunities to put shots up with Durant out of the lineup. They should be able to keep that eighth seed until Durant returns to full strength.
Westbrook can hold down the fort for a couple of weeks so Durant can return fully rested. They can’t afford to have Durant limping around during the playoffs.