Yes, the Thunder fell to the Pelicans 112-104, but Kevin Durant’s return to the Oklahoma lineup on Tuesday was still a personal victory for the injured player, who has missed the last 6.5 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his foot.
In just 30 minutes on the court, the big man landed a 3-point-shot (in transition, no less!) as his first basket, scored 6 of 7 from the line and scored the team-high total of 27 points. Not too shabby for a player in recovery mode!
Prior to making his debut, Durant said: “"Just excited to get back out there with my teammates. It's been a long 6½ weeks just trying to get better and get my foot right. The training staff did a great job, so I'm just looking forward to playing tonight. I know it's going to be a little bit different for me not having played ... and then going out there and playing the highest level of basketball. But I'm looking forward to going out there and seeing where I am and playing as hard as I can for my team."
As a Houston podiatrist, I recognize the truth in Durant’s words. Any athlete who is coming back from an injury must recognize that they will not be able to return to their former level of performance just as soon as they get back in action. In fact a crucial part of recovery is recognizing that you will still be weak even after your injury has technically healed fully; allowing yourself to ease back in the play can make the difference between a long and successful athletic career and an unfortunate return to the sidelines.
In my sports injury practice, I work with each athlete I see to ensure their recovery is not compromised by their desire to return to play. If you are dealing with an athletic injury, schedule an appointment with Dr. Andrew Schneider today.