Kevin Durant was a late scratch for what would have been his home debut for the Suns on Wednesday with a sprained left ankle after twisting it on the field during pregame practice at the Footprint Center.
“He’s in good spirits,” Suns star Devin Booker said. “That’s all that matters to me. The rehabilitation process starts now.”
Sources told The Republic that Durant was in a bind as he left the arena before media availability following Phoenix’s 132-101 win over Oklahoma City. Durant could miss several games, sources told The Republic as Phoenix plays its next game Saturday against Sacramento (38-26) at home.
“The city has been waiting for this,” Booker, who scored 44 points in Wednesday’s win, said of anticipation for Durant’s Suns home opener. “It’s a big day. We’ll reschedule the party. I’m sure they’ll come back. People who missed out tonight, I tried to give them a little something to make it better, but we’re still waiting. his debut here.”
Booker said he found out about Durant’s status just before the team entered the field before the game.
“I saw him still sitting on the (practice) table,” Booker said. “It is what it is. Unfortunate event, but nothing serious. We will get it back.”
Chris Paul also noticed Durant on the practice table.
“I didn’t know what was going on and I saw it on the table,” Paul said. “I know how much he loves to play and wanted to play, but things are happening.”
Durant was going through his usual pre-game routine when he went to drive the baseline, twisted his left ankle while slipping on the pitch in the paint, and lost the ball before falling on his back.
There was an immediate reaction to the downfall from fans watching the situation.
The team’s cleanup crew immediately cleared the area after Durant got up. The 13-time All-Star and two-time Finals MVP got up slowly, went to tie his left shoe, continued his training and returned to the locker room.
He did not appear to be in pain and showed no facial expressions of pain as he continued training, but Durant did not play in the match.
“We just have to wait and see how he reacts to the treatment,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “We’ll probably have more footage to make sure everyone’s on the same page.”
Phoenix’s next two games are Saturday against Sacramento and Monday against defending NBA champion Golden State.
Durant won consecutive NBA titles (2017-18) with the Warriors.
“It’s tough, but you look around the league, even today, I think Luka (Doncic) came out today, Brandon Ingram,” Booker said as Doncic sprained his left thigh at the third quarter of the Mavericks-Pelicans game and didn’t return as Ingram sprained his right ankle and did not play in the second half.
“It’s just unfortunate, things you can’t control, especially Kev’s. He had just trained before the game. Control what we can control. The situation happened.”
Booker remembers suffering an ankle injury while training in the summer.
“He goes full speed in every practice he does,” Booker said of Durant. “Things like that can happen. At first I thought he slipped, but seeing the video, he rolled over (left ankle).”
Durant is averaging 26.7 points in his three games with the Suns (37-29), who have won all three. He’s coming off a 37-point effort in Sunday’s win at Dallas where he hit the game-winner with 12.4 seconds left.
With a history of injuries, Durant suffered a right MCL sprain on Jan. 8 in Miami. The Suns traded Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, four first-round picks and a trade pick to Brooklyn for TJ Warren and Durant just before the Feb. 8 trade deadline.
Durant nearly missed two months before making his Suns debut last week in Charlotte.
Do you have an opinion on the current state of the Suns? Contact Suns Insider Duane Rankin at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.
Support local journalism. Start your subscription online.