By Randy Renner
Thunder fans were no doubt breathing a bit easier after watching superstar Kevin Durant go through drills during USA Basketball's mini-camp session yesterday in Las Vegas.
The session was televised by NBA-TV and KD could be seen moving around easily, hitting step-back jumpers and going through drills with teammate Russell Westbrook and Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams who is also an assistant for Team USA.
“I can go 100 percent," Durant told reporters. "I’m not going to play 5-on-5 just yet, but everything else is no restrictions. I’ve got to play against some guys to see. But I feel like I’m back to myself."
He certainly looked like it and that is encouraging to everyone since Durant hasn't been able to play in a game since mid-February and he probably hasn't been 100 percent since, well, who knows when.
“You take it for granted a little bit,” he said about the game that has consumed him since he was a kid. “I missed the routine the most. Getting up, going to practice, getting my shots up before practice, I missed all that part. Hanging out with the guys in the locker room before the game, I think that’s what I missed the most. You can take that type of stuff for granted. I think I did and I learned my lesson.”
Durant is being monitored closely by USA Basketball's medical staff which includes Thunder team trainer Joe Sharpe. He'll practice again today but will not participate in the team's showcase event Thursday night.
He will continue to ramp up his work as Thunder training camp approaches.
“It’s a long process, man,” Durant said. “I just tried to stay patient with it. … I have my days where I’m like, ‘Man, it’s not getting any better. I’m sick of working out. I’ve been working out for a year, I’m ready to play.’ … Feels good to stretch my legs a little bit.”
Durant also told reporters if he and his Thunder teammates can stay healthy, or at least avoid big injuries that take players out of the lineup for weeks, they have as good a chance as anyone to win a championship this coming season.
That journey officially begins at the end of next month when Thunder training camp gets underway.