By Randy Renner
Thunder superstar Kevin Durant appeared to have particiapted in at least part of this morning's shootaround but he is still being listed as "out" for tonight's game against Dallas.
"We don't spend a lot of time with him," Thunder forward Nick Collison told reporters when he was asked about Durant's progress. "He's trying to rehab and do his own thing so he'll be ready to go when he's ready to go."
When the local media were allowed into the gym at the INTEGRIS Thunder Development Center this morning KD could be seen working with teammates and he was wearing his normal practice uniform instead of the tee-shirt and gym shorts he's been wearing during individual workouts.
Durant is obviously making progress but the team's medical staff, knowing hamstring injuries can be notoriously slow to heal, are taking no chances.
Thunder head coach Billy Donovan will meet with reporters at 4:15 in Chesapeake Energy Arena and we will hear the final word then but despite Durant's apparent participation in shootaround the feeling is he likely will not go tonight but remains VERY close to a return to action.
Of course Durant's absence isn't the only problem the Thunder are dealing with. Donovan has pointed out inconsistent performances and that continues to plague the team on both ends of the floor.
Collison seems most frustrated with what's been happening (or not happening) on defense.
"We have to be able to figure it out and play at a high level we've had long enough to get used to (Donovan's system) and we need to get going and play better."
The Thunder have generally been an outstanding defensive team in recent years ranking at least in the Top 10 and usually among the Top 5 NBA defensive teams. This season OKC is 19th giving up 102.1 points per 100 possessions and 22nd in points allowed per game at 104.5.
They show up better in defensive shooting percentage allowing opponents to hit 43.4 percent of their shots to rank 11th best.
The Thunder have been hurt from beyond the arc where they're allowing teams to hit 37.0 percent to rank 23rd and their own shooting from behind the line has also fallen off a cliff, especially lately.
During KD's absence his Oklahoma City teammates are shooting just 41.9 percent overall which plays right in the Mavericks' hands. Dallas is holding opponent to just 40.5 percent during their current six game winning streak.
The Thunder seem to be somewhat lost and definitely struggling, the Mavs are rolling. Both trends need to reverse tonight for the Thunder to avoid slipping to .500 on the season.