Presti Says Durant, Ibaka, Both Ready To Go
By Randy Renner
Thunder general manager Sam Presti essentially told fans they can rest easy for now, the entire Thunder roster is healthy.
That's something that couldn't have been said at all last season as most every player who wore a Thunder uniform missed at least a game or two and Thunder superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook each missed significant playing time as did forward Serge Ibaka.
Presti confirmed during his pre-season news conference today what sources had been indicating and even Durant himself had said was true.
"Kevin is cleared to participate (in training camp) and he's been playing without restrictions in 5-on-5 drills," Presti said. "We will manage his recovery time (from practices and games) but there are no limitations. It's great to have him back on the floor."
Presti said Durant has looked "great" in those drills and is pain free. However, just like with any player returning from an injury, the Thunder medical staff will keep a very close watch on KD.
"We will watch his rest and how he recovers and we'll see how he feels at the beginning of camp." Presti also said it's likely Durant won't play in a pre-season game or two but he doesn not expect him to be on any sort of minutes restriction once the regular season starts.
"We'l deal with the season as it comes up," Presti said.
The Thunder GM also said Ibaka will be a full go at camp despite having some problems during his recovery from season ending knee surgery.
"Serge has felt some discomfort at times," Presti admitted, "but he's fully cleared now. Some discomfort is to be expected during the rehab process. He says he feels really good right now and he looks great. Serge may have had the best summer of any of our players."
Presti answered questions for almost an hour at the INTEGRIS Health Thunder Development Center in his first wide-ranging chat with reporters since the Thunder ended last season out of the playoffs and he brought Billy Donovan in to replace Scott Brooks as OKC's head coach.
Donovan has really impressed his boss with his work ethic and everything he's done to get ready for his first season as an NBA head coach.
"Billy has gone back and watched and charted every game we've played over the last two years" to familiarize himself with the players and their skills. When training camp begins on Tuesday Presti said "Billy will take some time to get to know the players as players. He's gotten to know them as people over the summer."
Presti said he's tremendously excited about the upcoming season because of all the different options and combinations available on the roster.
"We feel good about the depth and versatility of this team. I think we can play a lot of different ways."
Thunder media day is set for Monday and the team's first training camp practice will be Tuesday.