Kevin Durant is back for the Oklahoma Thunder and Russell Westbrook’s load just got a little bit lighter. And, by a little bit, I mean a whole lot. Durant scored 27 points in 30 minutes after missing the previous six games with a hamstring injury when the Thunder beat the Utah Jazz 111-89. Durant added six rebounds, four steals and a block and was 10-of-13 from the field. I guess he’s feeling OK.
According to ESPN News Services, after the game, Durant spoke to the media:
“When I was ready to get back on the court physically, I was there putting my work in making sure my body was ready, my fundamentals were right,” Durant said. “I just have the mindset that, no matter what, I just pick up where I left off. I think that is what separates good players from great players, is that mindset.”
And coach Billy Donovan explained why they weren’t in a hurry to rush him back into the lineups:
“The last thing you want with a hamstring injury is for it to be a prolonged thing to deal with,” Donovan said. “The feeling was, so early in the season, let’s just get him completely recovered and feeling good. The medical staff really feels like he has made incredible progress. He’s pain free, feels good.”
Thanks to Westbrook’s g32.7 points, 9.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds and 3.2 steals in Durant’s absence, the Thunder were able to maintain a 3-3 record while he was away. They are 6-3 in games when Durant has played, including the win against the Jazz.