Phoenix Suns fans waited with anticipation for Kevin Durant to make his home debut at the Footprint Center on Wednesday night, March 8. After an impressive three-game stretch on the road, Durant was expected to play his first game in Phoenix in front of Suns fans against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
That was until a freak accident saw Kevin Durant roll his left ankle during a pregame warm up. After processing what had just happened, the superstar forward bounced up and finished the remainder of his routine. But the Suns weren’t taking any chances with their newly acquired superstar forward. Durant was ruled out less than 20 minutes before the game was set to start due to left ankle soreness.
Phoenix was able to take care of business without Durant, defeating the Thunder by a final score of 132-101. After the game, Devin Booker shared his thoughts involving Durant’s last-second scratch before the game. Booker acknowledged that he understood how excited Suns fans were to get to witness Durant’s home debut.
“The city’s been waiting on this., it’s a big day,” Booker said during the postgame press conference. “We’ll reschedule the party. I’m sure they’ll be back.”
How Long Is Kevin Durant Expected to Be Out?
The good news for Phoenix is that they’ve won five of their last six games. After dealing with numerous injuries throughout the first half of the 2022-23 season, Phoenix was looking to make up some ground in the Western Conference standings.
But Durant’s injury has put the team in a difficult position. According to NBA insider Shams Charania on March 9, Durant is expected to re-evaluated in two weeks. The Suns are “hopeful” that Durant can progress and return shortly after the two week re-evaluation period, Charania reported.
In his three games so far as a member of the Suns, Durant has posted averages of 26.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game while shooting 69.0% from the field.
Durant Injury Could Be Costly Timing With NBA Playoffs Around the Corner
The Suns have a roster featuring some of the most dynamic offensive forces in the league.
But chemistry is something that cannot be rushed when it comes to playing with a new team. The Suns were hoping that Durant would be able to get a number of games under his belt with his new teammates ahead of the 2023 NBA playoffs. That idea has quickly fizzled, with Durant expected to miss two or more weeks with his ankle injury.
With the regular season winding down, the Phoenix Suns have 16 games remaining on their schedule. The two-week mark for Durant would see the Suns facing the Los Angeles Lakers on March 22. If Durant were to return in three weeks, that would give him potentially seven games to get ready for the playoffs.
A player like Durant doesn’t need much time to find his groove on the court, but getting a feel for how to play with his teammates is crucial. The Suns might just have to roll into the playoffs with the hope that they can adjust on the fly and survive the initial rounds on talent alone.