Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant says his hamstring is feeling better but the injury will likely sideline him a couple of more games.
"Feeling a lot better," Durant said, according to ESPN’s Royce Young. "Way better, actually."
Durant left the game last Tuesday against the Washington Wizards after straining his left hamstring and has missed the Thunder’s last two games, a win against Philadelphia and a loss to Boston. He originally said the injury was ‘nothing too serious’ and it appears not to be, with Durant set to be reevaluated in the coming days. Still, the 2013-2014 league MVP isn’t going to push the envelope to come back before he’s ready.
"Hamstrings are a little different," Durant said. "You can re-injure them pretty easily if you try and play through it, or as we say now, 'Be tough.' I call that being dumb. But hamstring strains you can't really try and play through it. Just got to get it right and make sure everything is perfect when I come back to play."
Durant, 27, missed 55 games a season ago due to three surgeries to repair a Jones fracture in the 5th metatarsal of his right foot and minor injuries to an ankle and a toe. It was believed he may have returned too soon from the original injury (he missed just 7 weeks) but Durant insists he’s taking it slow with his hamstring.
"This time around just want to make sure I'm fully healed and feel good about going out there and playing again," he said. “It's a day-by-day thing. They said a week to 10 days that they'll look back at it, so we'll see after that. But once they look at it again, I just want to be 100 percent ready to play. I don't want to push it and 'be tough.' I just want to be smart about it."
Durant is averaging 28.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists on 50.3 percent shooting in his first eight games. He says the injury is frustrating but isn’t more than a “minor bump in the road.”
"It's definitely frustrating because I want to play," Durant said. "I felt like I was in a good groove before, but it's a part of the game. I just got to keep working to get back, and I've been working my tail off every single day to get back, and my teammates have been holding it down."
In Durant’s place, Oklahoma City head coach Billy Donovan has started Anthony Morrow the last two games and otherwise have kept their normal rotation as much as possible as the team continues to adjust to a new offense.
"[Morrow's] playing well, but I do want my spot back," Durant said.
Durant will miss Monday’s game against the Grizzlies and will more than likely sit out Wednesday’s matchup with New Orleans. Going by the timeline of a week to 10 days, Durant could return as early as this Friday when the Thunder host the Knicks or Sunday when the Mavericks come to town.