When NBA superstar Kevin Durant had yet another surgery on his right foot at the end of March, it wasn’t revealed that the bone had cracked again and doctors had turned to a treatment best described as experimental. The bone graph used to strengthen the area takes on increased meaning in light of this new information. There is no guarantee Durant will be back to his old self when the 2015-16 season starts.
Kevin Durant told Bleacher Report that he had another crack in his foot when he needed his third surgery. pic.twitter.com/K2FJC54GFa
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) August 14, 2015
This is a huge season for the 6’10 do-it-all forward as he is about to become a free agent next July and is in line to sign biggest contract in NBA history. The only caveat being he needs to prove that his foot is solid and he can still play. Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding reports that there are no guarantees with respect to Durant’s treatment.
Durant broke the bone once and then turned to dramatic measures via this synthetic INFUSE bone-graft protein—the type of push-the-envelope medical choice that athletes increasingly are making to maximize their bodies’ possibilities.
“The data supports that he should come back stronger and should never have a problem with this again,” Los Angeles orthopedic surgeon Robert Klapper said. “That’s the answer that you have to give. But nobody knows for sure.“
The good news is Durant has already been taking steps to get back on the court and has been involved with Team USA practices to a limited extent. However, he has to remain careful as this surgical procedure can take up to a year to fully heal.
Durant is cleared to play fully now on a “healed” bone. But when doctors say it is “healed,” it is healed enough that based on basic evidence it should not break again; the bone will continue to heal on some small level for more than a year.
“I can’t do too much no more,” Durant said. “I love putting in work; I love being out on the court. But early on, I have to ease back into that part of it.”
Other NBA big men have suffered through similar problems and eventually made it back to their old selves on the court. Nets center Brook Lopez appeared to accomplish the feat last year, but the intervening period between injury and successful treatment isn’t necessarily easy or smooth as Durant has already experienced himself.
Durant’s return to the court in Oklahoma City will be one of the biggest stories of the season as he instantly elevates the Thunder to contender status, but it is probably better to keep the pressure to return low and not try to rush the process. As one of the NBA’s brightest and most popular stars, everyone wants to see Durant return to a long, healthy and spectacular career that isn’t derailed by recurring foot problems.