Doctor outlines expectations for KD's injury recovery


The Phoenix Suns made the biggest splash at the trade deadline by acquiring Kevin Durant, but their playoff push took a massive hit Wednesday when the superstar suffered a left ankle sprain.

The Arizona Republic’s Greg Moore reported Thursday, citing sources, that the Suns are concerned Durant suffered a Grade 2 ankle sprain, which would keep him out between four and six weeks.

A Grade 2 ankle sprain indicates the outside ankle ligaments “are torn but not necessarily separated,” Stanford Medicine’s Dr. David Oji said in an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area.

Durant sustained the injury in pregame warm-ups when he slipped on the court on his way to the basket for a layup.

“I did look at the video several times, and when you look at it you see him tweak that left ankle slightly,” Dr. Oji said. “Sometimes it could be as simple as having some dust on the court and the shoes not being as tight and just slipping. He still finished the warm-up and he still looked very good.

“Without knowing exactly what the MRI shows and his medical record, it’s always hard to know exactly what it is. But just from looking at the video and the report, it doesn’t seem too concerning.”

Phoenix announced Thursday that Durant’s ankle will be re-evaluated in three weeks. The Suns’ final game of the 2022-23 NBA regular season is April 9 -- about four weeks from when he suffered the injury. If they remain a top-six seed in the Western Conference, the first round of the playoffs is set to begin April 15.

Dr. Oji stated athletes typically can return from Grade 2 ankle sprains anywhere from two to eight weeks. So, what will the Suns be looking for when they look at his ankle again soon?

“The most important thing they want to see is his ability to perform at that peak level where he needs to be effective on the court,” Dr. Oji said of the Suns’ goals when re-evaluating. “If for any reason he has a little hesitancy, a little bit of pain or weakness, certainly that could affect his game and he could re-injure his knee or some other bad thing could happen.”

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The Suns enter Monday’s matchup against the Warriors at Chase Center three-and-a-half games back of the Sacramento Kings and Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in the West. Phoenix also is two games ahead of the fifth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers.

Durant's new team has a bit of breathing room, but certainly is hoping it will have the superstar up and running at full strength by the time the postseason rolls around.

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