By Randy Renner
Just as he had done Monday, Kevin Durant appeared to have stepped up his workout regime on Tuesday.
He was working with Thunder team physician Dr. Donnie Strack and other members of the Thunder medical and training staff. He worked on offense and defense and did some end-to-end running while making basketball moves, ending several of those trips with dunks and layups.
As encouraging as it all appeared, Thunder head coach Scott Brooks told reporters a return to game action for KD is not in the immediate future.
"He still is not practicing with the group, he's still doing his rehab work," Brooks said. "He has to continue to reach those benchmarks before he steps on the floor with the guys and play contact, but he's coming along."
However, he is not coming along fast enough to play in Wednesday's game against the Clippers. When asked if he'd already been ruled out for the Clippers game Brooks answered simply, "oh yeah."
Brooks also said Durant has not fully been re-evaluated but it appeared as though what he has gone through the last couple of days may be a portion of that process and clearly KD is getting closer to full speed and a return to action, just exactly how close we don't know and Brooks may not know for sure either.
"He still has to go through all the steps along the way," Brooks said.
Durant has already missed more than half the games the Thunder have played and he has yet to practice and play his teammates acquired on trade deadline day.
The Thunder is a much different team now from earlier especially with the addition of Enes Kanter and his ability to score down low.
"It definitely gives us another dimension," Brooks said and with Steven Adams back now the Thunder generated 27 points on 12-for-18 shooting and 18 rebounds in Sunday's win over Toronto.
"Chances of that happening every game, probably not gonna happen but they play with a lot of energy and toughness."
Kanter is playing free and easy in OKC after being constantly frustrated by the happenings in Utah with the Jazz. He had wanted out of there and now he seems thrilled to be with an organization whose focus is on winning a championship.
"The thing is we are winning here, we are playing for something, we are playing for the ring and there..." Kanter paused before going on, "I don't wanna say anything bad about them but this is just way different than what I'd been seeing, this is a whole different level. This is when I realized what NBA is, is when I came to Oklahoma City."
That might shock many members of the national media who still seem to think of Oklahoma City as Hicksville, USA, but players who come to the Thunder from other NBA teams all say the same thing.
The commitment from the organization to winning and to the needs of players, staff and coaches is as good as it gets anywhere.